French The Verb "to make" "to do"


Out of all of the expressions out there, the verb faire (to make/to do) is certainly featured in the most. Used in relation to everyday life, illness, social interactions and the weather, there’s rarely a conversation that goes by in which you don’t need to use the verb. The French verb faire means to do or to make, although it is also used in many idiomatic expressions with various different meanings. Faire is an irregular verb, and it is one of the few verbs that is irregular in the vous form of the present indicative (vous faites) as well as in the ils form (ils font).

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Faire, meaning “to do” or “to make” is one of the most common verbs in French. It’s an irregular verb, meaning its conjugation is unique and doesn’t follow any specific grouping pattern. Faire is used in a variety of French expressions which you can study in the Quizlet set for this module.

Below is the conjugation chart for faire with an example sentence:

Subject PronounFaireMeaningExampleTranslation
JefaisI am doing I am makingJe fais le ménage.I’m doing the housework.
TufaisYou are doing You are makingTu fais du cheval.You are doing some horseback riding.
Il/Elle/OnfaitHe/She/One is doing He/She/On is makingElle fait un gâteau.She is making a cake.
NousfaisonsWe are doing We are makingNous faisons une promenade.We are taking a walk.
VousfaitesYou are doing You are makingVous faites du camping en septembre.You are doing some camping in September.
Ils/EllesfontThey are doing They are makingIls font des projets importants.They are making some important plans.

Notes :

  • Faire is often used when referring to participation in sports or activities.
  • Look again at the following example sentence:

 Nous faisons une promenade / We are taking (take) a walk

Notice how words don’t always have to translate literally between French and English. The translation, “We are doing a walk” would be correct, but the translation is not as natural as the one provided.

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Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

The CEFR is an international standard used to describe language ability. Here are specific details of the CEFR for this topic.

General Explanation:
Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. Can introduce him/herself and others and can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where he/she lives, people he/she knows and things he/she has. Can interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.
Specific Capabilities at this Level
I can write a short, simple postcard, for example sending holiday greetings. I can fill in forms with personal details, for example entering my name, nationality and address on a hotel registration form.
Spoken Production:
I can use simple phrases and sentences to describe where I live and people I know.
Spoken Interaction:
I can interact in a simple way provided the other person is prepared to repeat or rephrase things at a slower rate of speech and help me formulate what I’m trying to say. I can ask and answer simple questions in areas of immediate need or on very familiar topics.
I can understand familiar names, words and very simple sentences, for example on notices and posters or in catalogues.
I can recognize familiar words and very basic phrases concerning myself, my family and immediate concrete surroundings when people speak slowly and clearly.