A Force De ...

French Expression: “A Force De…” (with audio and examples)

The phrase "à force de" is used daily by French speakers. Mastering this expression will contribute to your conversational skills and make you sound more fluent when you speak - non-natives often use this phrase incorrectly.

"A force de" is used to express the idea of something happening due to repeated actions or constant effort.

It doesn't have an exact equivalent in English but can generally translate to "by continuously" or "by repeatedly", or "through", depending on the (keep reading).

You can use "à force de" to indicate that something results from a continuous action, good or bad:

"A force de trainer, elle a raté son train."

By wasting time, she missed her train.

Here, "à force de trainer" implies that the person was wasting time, dawdling, so much that she ended up being late for the train.

"Il a réussi à force de travail."

He succeeded through hard work.

Here, "à force de" implies continuous work over time, leading to success.

Grammar structure with examples

"A force de" can be followed by a verb in the infinitive or by a noun. The preposition "de" must always follow "à force", linking "à force" with either the infinitive verb or the noun.

With an infinitive verb

When followed by a verb, the verb must be in the infinitive form. In this case, "à force de" can generally translate to "by".

"A force de répéter, il a mémorisé le discours"

By repeating, he memorized the speech.

"A force de bosser dur, elle a réussi ses examens"

By working hard, she passed her exams

"A force de s'entrainer tous les jours, il a fini par gagner la course"

By training every day, he ended up winning the race.

With a noun

When followed by a noun, the noun can be singular or plural. When followed by a noun, "à force de" can generally translate to "through".

"Ils ont réussi à force de détermination."

They succeeded through determination.

"A force d'efforts, elle a atteint son but."

Through efforts, she achieved her goal.

"A force de patience, ils ont résolu le problème"

Through patience, they solved the problem

Negative outcome

The result can be positive or negative, depending on the context. Example of a negative outcome:

"A force de remettre à plus tard, elle a raté sa chance"

By constantly putting things off, she missed her chance.

Take this short quiz to test your mastery of the French phrase "à force de"

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