When should you use faire?
“Faire” is the equivalent of “to do” or “to make” depending on the situation.
However, if you want to translate “it makes me happy”, you can’t say “ça me fait heureux”. Instead, you need to use the verb “rendre” and say “ça me rend heureux”.
“Faire” (to do) is one of the most commonly-used French verb, and you can find it many useful French expressions and idioms. Here is a list of idioms and expressions with faire you ought to know.
Faire la fête (to party)
There is no verb in French for “to party”. Instead, we use the verb “faire” (to do) plus “la fête” (the party). Literally : to do the party.
Je fais beaucoup la fête en ce moment, c’est pour ça que je suis fatigué.
I party a lot these days, that’s why I am tired.
Faire la tête/ faire la gueule (to sulk)
“Faire la fête” and “faire la tête” (literally : to do the head) look and sound similar, but their meaning couldn’t be more different. While “faire la fête” expresses something positive (to party), “faire la tête” means “to sulk” or “to be in a bad mood”.
“Faire la gueule” also means “to be in a bad mood”, it’s much more casual though. Use it with caution!
Il ne veut parler à personne, il fait la tête.
He doesn’t want to talk to anyone, he is in a bad mood.
Faire la queue (to stand in line, to queue)
Literally “to do the queue”.
Excusez-moi monsieur, vous devez faire la queue comme tout le monde.
Excuse me sir, you need to stand in line like everyone else.
Faire attention (to pay attention)
Literally “to do attention”, this expression actually means “to pay attention”. You can use it as is or followed by the preposition “à, “aux” or “à la” if you want to say “pay attention to someone/something”.
You can also use “faire gaffe”. While “gaffe” alone is an old-fashioned word for “mistake”, “faire gaffe” actually means “to pay attention”, to “Watch out”.
Fais attention/ fais gaffe à ta valise, ou tu risques de la perdre.
Pay attention to your suitcase or you risk losing it.
Faire la grasse matinée (to sleep in/to sleep late)
Can you guess what this idiom means? Hint : its literal translation is “to do the fat morning”. Good luck, you have two minutes.
Sometimes, people also say “faire la grasse mat’”.
This simply means “to sleep in”, “to sleep late”.
Il fait quoi ton frère, il dort ? Oui, il fait la grasse mat’ aujourd’hui.
What is your brother doing? Is he sleeping? Yes, he is sleeping late today.
Faire la sourde oreille (to turn a deaf ear)
This French idiom is the counterpart of “to turn a deaf ear”. This means you pretend not to hear when someone is talking to you.
Je l’ai appelé, mais il a fait la sourde oreille.
I called him, but he turned a deaf ear/ pretended he didn’t hear me.
En faire tout un fromage (to make a big deal out of something)
This idiom shows how much French people love cheese. It literally means “to make a cheese out of it”. You use it when someone is making a big deal out of nothing.
Alternatively, you can use “en faire toute une histoire” (literally : to make a whole story out of it)
Arrête, ça ne sert à rien d’en faire tout un fromage.
Stop it, it’s useless to make a big deal out of it.
Faire un tabac (to be a hit)
When something “makes a tobacco”, it means it’s extremely successful.
Ce livre a fait un tabac.
This book was a hit.
Faire de la peine à quelqu’un (to cause pain to someone)
The word “peine” has many different meanings, but used with the verb “faire”, it means to hurt someone, or to cause pain to someone.
This expression is rather formal. In a casual setting, it’s better to use “ça me rend triste” (it makes me sad).
Il n’est pas venu, ça me fait de la peine.
He didn’t come, it saddens me.
Faire des économies (to save something)
“économie” means “savings”. It can be any kind of savings, money, energy etc.
Il faut vraiment que je fasse des économies.
I really need to save (money).
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