Faire cadeau

Faire cadeau
Share / Tweet / Pin Me!

French Expression

Meaning to give (something), to let off easily
Literally to make (a) gift
Register normal
Pronunciation French sound files [fehr kah doh]
IPA   [fɛʁ ka do]̃

Usage notes: Literally, the French expression faire cadeau means “to give (something) as a present”:

Par exemple…

Mon copain m’a fait cadeau d’un vélo.   My boyfriend gave me a bike (as a gift).

Somewhat synonymous

  • donner
  • faire don de
  • faire présent de (formal)
  • offrir
  • payer

There are also some interesting idiomatic uses.

1) Faire cadeau des détails (à quelqu’un) means “to spare (someone) the details, to make a long story short”:

Je ne peux pas sortir ce soir – je te fais cadeau des détails.   I can’t go out tonight – I’ll spare you the details (I’ll skip the long story about why I can’t go).
Quelle journée ! Je te fais cadeau des détails.   What a day! I’ll spare you the details.

Somewhat synonymous

2) Ne pas être un cadeau with people means "to not be that great."

3) Ne pas faire de cadeau means “to not let off lightly/easily, to give a run for one’s money, to be strict” as when talking about police, parents, proctors, enemies:

Quand j’ai cassé la fenêtre, mes parents ne m’ont pas fait de cadeau.   When I broke the window, my parents didn’t let me off lightly.
Notre entraîneur ne fait pas de cadeau.   Our coach is strict, is hard on us.

Synonyms: être …

  • dur
  • exigeant
  • rigoureux
  • sévère
  • strict

 Related lessons

 Share / Tweet / Pin Me!

Faire cadeau des détails

Stay up to date with Lawless French

Questions about French?

 Visit the Progress with Lawless French Q+A forum to get help from native French speakers and fellow learners.

More Lawless French

 Subscribe to my twice-weekly newsletter.

Support Lawless French

  This free website is created with love and a great deal of work.

If you love it, please consider making a one-time or monthly donation.

Your support is entirely optional but tremendously appreciated.

1 Response

  1. Robert 19 August 2016 / 13:31

    A native French speaker recently told me that “offrir” is considered a nicer, more gracious way of speaking of gift giving, as opposed to using “donner” – i.e. “Je vais lui offrir un cadeau” shows more tact than “Je vais lui donner un cadeau” – although both are acceptable.

    (And while I’m commenting – thank you, Laura, for this and for all your other lessons, and for your website in general – Vraiment, un grand cadeau !)

Leave a Reply