Pour + infinitive = In order to

Look at these expressions of purpose:

Elle a acheté de la farine pour faire un gâteau.
She bought flour (in order) to make a cake.

Je vais au cinéma pour voir un film.
I'm going to the cinema (in order) to see a film.

Pour y aller, tu as besoin de prendre le bus.
To go there, you need to take the bus.

Je prends des leçons pour apprendre le français.
I'm taking lessons to learn French.

To express a purpose in French (in order to [do something]), we use the preposition pour + [infinitif].

You can also use the more elegant expression afin de + [infinitif] in the same context:

Je prends des leçons afin d'apprendre le français.
I'm taking lessons (in order) to learn French.


Case of pour + reflexive verbs

Je vais dans ma chambre pour m'habiller.
I'm going to my room (in order) to get dressed.

Tu lis pour te relaxer.
You read to relax.

Nous allons à la fête foraine pour nous amuser.
We're going to the funfair to have fun.

Les hommes utilisent des rasoirs pour se raser.
Men use razors to shave.

To express purpose with reflexive verbs, you will follow this pattern:  

Pour + me/te/se/nous/vous/se + infinitive 

ATTENTION:
The reflexive pronoun needs to match the subject of the verb (who's doing the action) :

Je vais dans la salle de bains pour se laver me laver.

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Pour y aller, tu as besoin de prendre le bus.
To go there, you need to take the bus.


Je prends des leçons afin d'apprendre le français.
I'm taking lessons (in order) to learn French.


Elle a acheté de la farine pour faire un gâteau.
She bought flour (in order) to make a cake.


Nous allons à la fête foraine pour nous amuser.
We're going to the funfair to have fun.


Je vais au cinéma pour voir un film.
I'm going to the cinema (in order) to see a film.


Tu lis pour te relaxer.
You read to relax.


Les hommes utilisent des rasoirs pour se raser.
Men use razors to shave.


Je prends des leçons pour apprendre le français.
I'm taking lessons to learn French.


Je vais dans ma chambre pour m'habiller.
I'm going to my room (in order) to get dressed.


Q&A

Saw

Kwiziq community member

2 September 2018

1 reply

J’ai achetè du pain à faire un gâteau . Is that right to use à instead of using pour ?

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

2 September 2018

2/09/18

Hi Saw,


 No, you cannnot say 'à faire' un gâteau only 'pour faire' is correct.


e.g 


Je lui ai téléphoné pour l'inviter = I called (him) to invite him


Je leur ai parlé pour expliquer mon comportement = I spoke to them in order to explain my behaviour


Hope this helps!

Saw

Kwiziq community member

2 September 2018

1 reply

Anyone pls kindly explain me

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

2 September 2018

2/09/18

Already answered.

Stewart

Kwiziq community member

4 July 2018

4 replies

can you omit 'pour' ?

Just to be clear, in expressions like : 'Je vais au cinéma pour voir un film' ... presumably this implies that it is wrong to just say 'Je vais au cinéma voir un film'

Chris

Kwiziq community member

5 July 2018

5/07/18

He Stewart,


yes, in these cases you can't do without "pour".


-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Stewart

Kwiziq community member

5 July 2018

5/07/18

Thanks Chris, I'm now OK with this.

Alan

Kwiziq community member

5 July 2018

5/07/18

I'm not a native speaker either, but I would have given you the opposite answer. I think pour is only used to stress the purpose, it can be omitted.


There's a song by Boris Vian with the line:


J'vais au cinéma voir des films suédois





Stewart

Kwiziq community member

5 July 2018

5/07/18

Hi Alan, Thanks for your input ... is there someone else out there who can further clarify this point please?

David

Kwiziq community member

27 January 2018

5 replies

Do you "voir un film" or do you "regarder un film"?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

29 January 2018

29/01/18

For once, this is exactly as in English (you don't get lucky very often ;)):

Je vais voir un film -- I am going to see a movie.
Je vais regarder un film -- I am going to watch a movie.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

David

Kwiziq community member

29 January 2018

29/01/18

Thanks Chris - so either are OK to use. - I suppose in English you normally see a movie in a cinema, but watch a movie on TV - but it's a fine distinction.
David

Chris

Kwiziq community member

30 January 2018

30/01/18

I am not aware that this distinction carries over to French. But that certainly is a fine point which needs the input of a native speaker.

-- Chris.

steven

Kwiziq community member

11 April 2018

11/04/18

According to Duolingo, "regarder" is used with more intent while "voir" is used more passively


Elle va voir la ville - She's going to see the city


Le chat regarde le poisson - The cat is (actively) watching the fish 

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

1 September 2018

1/09/18

Just to add to this excellent discussion you could only say:


"Je suis en train de regarder un film." (not voir here).


It's the same distinction as-


 To hear (entendre) and to listen (écouter) .


The former is a passive action, the latter requires input from the subject .


Hope this helps!

helen

Kwiziq community member

6 October 2017

4 replies

"to my room"

The lesson shows"Je vais dans ma chambre pour m'habiller ". Why are we using "dans" here and not ' a ma chambre" -- to my room.

Ron

Kwiziq community member

6 October 2017

6/10/17

Bonjour Helen,
This seems like a very good question to me; I had not looked at it like this previously. I will be interested to learn the reasoning, too.
Bonne journée

helen

Kwiziq community member

6 October 2017

6/10/17

I'm hoping Aurélie responds:)

Chris

Kwiziq community member

17 October 2017

17/10/17

Hi Helen,

the use of directional prepositions in French is different from English. Also, the French don't differentiate as acutely between being somewhere (location) and going somewhere (direction).

Je suis dans ma chambre = I am in my room.
Je vais dans ma chambre = I am going to my room.

The difference of location versus direction is carried by the verb (je suis vs. je vais).

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Ron

Kwiziq community member

17 October 2017

17/10/17

Bonjour Chris,
Merci for your excellent explanation.
Ron

nim

Kwiziq community member

31 July 2017

2 replies

pour y aller

hello, why is the y in the middle

Ron

Kwiziq community member

3 August 2017

3/08/17

«y» is the pronoun for a place or location. Another example: J'y vais --> I am going there. Here is the lessons that relates to this question: https://french.kwiziq.com/my-languages/french/view/711

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

9 August 2017

9/08/17

Bonjour Nim !

In French, you cannot use the verb aller (to go) without mentioning "where" you're going.
The pronoun y here means "there" and is simply used to recall the necessary destination :)

Have a look at our lesson on y :
https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/the-adverbial-pronoun-y-means-there

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !
Clever stuff underway!