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FRENCH GRAMMAR POINTS

Faire = to do / to make

One of the first verbs to master in the French language is the verb faire. It is used to express both of the following actions: ‘to do’ and ‘to make’ but it is also widely used in many different contexts such as the weather, sports, and household tasks, and many, many more….

Faire is an irregular verb and when conjugated in the present, you will notice how the vous form does not end in ez:
Je fais = I do/make
Tu fais = You do/make
Il/elle/on fait = He/she/one does/makes
Nous faisons = We do/make
Vous faites = You do/make
Ils font = They do/make

Example :
Vous faites un gâteau d’anniversaire pour votre fille ? = You’re making a birthday cake for your daughter?
Elle fait un travail difficile = She is doing a difficult job.

The verb faire is used in the following situations:

Expressions about the weather (le temps):

Quel temps fait-il aujourd’hui ? = What’s the weather today?
Quelle température fait-il aujourd’hui ? = What temperature is it today?
Il fait chaud ou froid = It is hot or cold.
Il fait beau = It’s nice.
Il fait frais = It’s cool.
Il fait doux = It’s warm.
Il fait mauvais = It’s bad weather.
Il fait soleil = It’s sunny.
Il fait 35 degrés = It’s 35 degrees.
Il fait du vent = It’s windy.

Note that we use:
The verb pleuvoir to express ‘rain’ = Il pleut (it’s raining).
The verb neiger to express ‘snow = Il neige (it’s snowing).

C’est is used for in the following weather contexts:
C’est nuageux = It’s cloudy.
C’est orageux = It’s stormy.
C’est humide = It’s humid.

Il y a is also used in the following weather contexts:

Il y a du vent = There is some wind.
Il y a du brouillard = There is some fog (you can use either faire or il y a).
Il y a une tempête = There is a storm.
Il y a une tempête de neige = There is a snowstorm.
Il y a des nuages = It is cloudy.

Note: we use the verb être when we’re talking about time (many confuse the word temps for clock time):
Quelle heure est-il ? = What time is it?

Faire for sports:
Je fais du yoga = I do yoga.
Je fais du tennis = I play tennis.
Je fais du vélo = I bicycle.

Note : we mostly use jouer (to play) for team sports : je joue au foot.

Faire for a musical instrument:
Je fais du violon = I play the violon.
Je fais du piano = I play the piano.
Je fais de la guitare = I play the guitare.

For odd jobs:
Je fais du bricolage = I do odd jobs.

For saving money:
Je fais des économies = I’m saving some money.

For getting into mischief:
Je fais des bêtises = I’m doing some bad/mischievious things.

To be careful/to watch out:
Je fais attention = I’m careful.

To cook:
Je fais la cuisine = I’m cooking.

To do housework:
Je fais le ménage = I’m doing housework.
Je fais la vaisselle = I’m washing dishes.
Je fais le repassage = I’m ironing.

To sleep in:
Je fais la grasse matinée = I’m sleeping in.

To shop:
Je fais les courses = I’m food shopping.
Je fais les magasins = I’m shopping (clothes or other type of shopping but not for food).
Je fais des achats = I’m buying things.

To pack:
Je fais les bagages = I’m packing.

To worry:
S’en faire = To worry!
Ne t’en fais pas, tu vas réussir ton examen ! = Don’t worry, you’ll succeed in your exam!

It’s been a long time:
Ça fait longtemps que je n’ai pas cuisiné = it’s been a long time since I’ve done any cooking.

NB: in the following situations the verb faire is not used:

To make someone happy/sad:
When ‘to make’ is followed by an adjective, it is translated by rendre:
Mon mari me rend heureuse = My husband makes me happy.

To make/take a decision:
It is translated by prendre une décision (to take a decision):
Aujourd’hui je prends une decision ! = today I’m making a decision!

Céline Anthonioz

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