To Make

Make in French
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Making Sense of French Verbs

Faire is one of the first French verbs students learn, along with its most common English counterparts: "to do" and "to make." While "make" seems straightforward enough, in reality it has a number of different meanings and uses, many of which have completely different French translations.

To make + noun

When talking about making something in a general sense, faire is the most common translation.

Par exemple…

Qui fait ce bruit ?   Who is making that noise?
Je vais faire une réservation.   I’m going to make a reservation.
Elle a fait les lits.   She made the beds.

When the making is more along the lines of creating or building something, other verbs come into play.

To make = to build –> construire

Nous devons construire un abri.   We need to make a shelter.
Ils ont construit une nouvelle route.   They made a new road.

To make = to produce –> fabriquer

Cette usine fabrique beaucoup de jouets.   This factory makes a lot of toys.
Il a fabriqué plein de fausses histoires.   He made up tons of fake stories.

To make + verb

To talk about making someone do something, whether or not it’s intentional, the causative construction is the most common French equivalent.

Il m’a fait laver la voiture.   He made me wash the car.
Il a fait pleurer la fille.   He made the girl cry.

When you need a stronger verb, "make" as in "force," you can use forcer or obliger:

Elle m’a forcé à partir.   She made me leave.
Tu ne peux pas m’y obliger !   You can’t make me (do it)!

More "make" translations

Many other meanings of and expressions with "make" have different French equivalents.

arriver à   to make it to (location)
y arriver   to make the grade
attraper le train, le vol   to make (catch) the train, flight
avoir le train, le vol   to make (catch) the train, flight
conclure un marché   to make a deal
se débrouiller   to make do
donner rendez-vous   to make an appointment / a date
se faire de l’argent   to make money
se faire des amis   to make friends
se faire des ennemis   to make enemies
faire semblant   to make believe (pretend)
fixer un rendez-vous   to make an appointment / a date
gagner de l’argent   to make money
inventer   to make up, invent
se maquiller   to make up (put on make-up)
marquer un but   to make a goal
mettre (qqun) en retard   to make (someone) late
passer un marché   to make a deal
penser de qqun/qqch
(que penses-tu de … ?)
  to make of someone/something
(what do you make of …?)
porter un toast   to make a toast
prendre rendez-vous   to make an appointment / a date
prendre une décision   to make a decision
préparer un répas   to make a meal
se réconcilier   to make up (after a fight)
tourner un film   to make a movie
transformer (qqch) en   to make (something) into

 Page 2: To make + adjective

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French verbs to make
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