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To See: Pour Voir or Just Voir

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tommyzDad
Posts: 0
VA
United States
Registered:
May 5, 2015
Oct 6, 2015 at 7:57am

Match the Phrase: One phrase is "Yesterday, we went to see her new house." "Hier, nous sommes alles VOIR sa vouvelle maison." But for the phrase, "He went to Canada to see his family," it's "Il est alle au Canada POUR VOIR sa famille."

Why the difference? Voir is "to see" correct?

"Nous sommes alles VOIR" = "We went TO SEE".

Then shouldn't the second phrase be structured similarly?

"Il est alle au Canada pour VOIR" in my mind means "He went to Canada to TO SEE..."

James Putney
Posts: 0
Chapel Hill, NC
United States
Registered:
Jan 26, 2011
Oct 6, 2015 at 1:22pm

Coincidentally similar issue to the Spanish question above. So, "to" is translated in different ways in French depending on the construction. Sometimes not at all, as in "Je veux manger quelque chose." Also, when aller is followed by another verb, nothing is needed, as in your first example. But in your second example, the meaning is a bit different, when "to" means "for the purpose of" then "pour" is needed.

tommyzDad
Posts: 0
VA
United States
Registered:
May 5, 2015
Oct 7, 2015 at 7:41am

I think I see it now: In the first instance, it is literally "...we went to see ...."; in the second, it's "He went to Canada to [for the purpose of seeing] see his family. Correct?

FluenzLab
Posts: 0
Miami, Fl
United States
Registered:
Feb 5, 2011
Oct 14, 2015 at 5:24pm

That's spot on! What we are really saying in this sentence is: He went to Canada (for the purpose of or in order) to see his family. Great explanation, thank you James.

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