Updated: Dec 17, 2021
Learn the conjugation of the verb FARE in Italian and a handful list of Italian expressions with this verb!
Every language has at least one verb that is used all the time and means a bunch of different things. Italian is no different!
The verb FARE is used a lot in everyday conversations and it has several meanings. Plus, the verb FARE can be found in many common Italian expressions.
Let’s understand how to conjugate it, what it means, and all the expressions that contain the verb FARE in it!
The first thing that you need to know about this verb is that, unfortunately, it is an irregular verb. Its conjugation is different from that of regular verbs. However, it’s not that hard! Let’s see how FARE is conjugated in the present tense!
Io faccio - I do
Tu fai - You do
Lui/Lei fa - He/she does
Noi facciamo - We do
Voi fate - You guys do
Loro fanno - They do
Pay attention to the pronunciation of this verb. For the forms io and noi, you have a soft C sound. So, the pronunciation would be FACCIO (fa-ch-eeo) and FACCIAMO (fa-ch-ee-amo).
Many students get confused with this because they assume that since you have a double c, then the sound is hard (k). The c is actually pronounced as a soft sound (ch like ciao) because the vowel following the two Cs is an “i”.
If you’re struggling with the pronunciation of the C and the G in Italian you can check out this article: How to pronounce the C and the G in Italian correctly.
Now that we know how FARE is conjugated in the present, let’s try to understand what it means.
FARE has two main meanings: to do and to make. Let’s see a few examples:
Faccio una torta → I make a cake
Facciamo un caffè! → Let’s make a coffee!
In this sentence, we are using the "noi" form of the imperative that in English translates as “let’s”.
Che fai stasera? → What are you doing tonight?
As you can see in this example, we are using the present tense (fai) to translate the English progressive form (doing). This is very common in Italian when we are talking about an imminent or planned future. In this case, the action of you doing something tonight will happen in an imminent future and I am also assuming you have something planned. That’s why the present is used in Italian!
However, FARE can be used in many different expressions that you should learn as they are very common in conversational Italian. The list is very long but I am going to give you the most important and used ones! Let’s get started!
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1. Fare la doccia
Faccio la doccia tutte le mattine prima di andare a lavoro → I take a shower every morning before I go to work.
Here, the reflexive version of the verb is also very common, as we are both the subject and object of the action. It’s very common to hear something like "Mi faccio la doccia tutte le mattine".
2. Fare colazione
To have breakfast
Facciamo colazione alle 8 di mattina → We have breakfast at 8 in the morning.
In this case, fare means to actually “have breakfast”, to “eat it”! If you want to say that you’re making breakfast, then, I would use the verb preparare: preparo la colazione (I am making breakfast).
Some students then think that fare might be used also for pranzo (lunch) and cena (dinner). Unfortunately, it’s not like that. This is because we have two verbs in Italian for “to have lunch” and “dinner” that are pranzare e cenare respectively.
Pranzo a casa dei miei nonni → I have lunch at my grandparents’ house
Ceniamo a casa tua stasera → We have dinner at your house tonight
However sometimes we just use the verb mangiare when we’re referring to having lunch or dinner.
3. Fare una domanda
To ask a question
Fatemi una domanda se non capite → Ask me a question if you don’t understand
Note the position of the pronoun mi with the verb fare: fatemi! → (you guys) ask me!
The reason why we put the pronoun there, attached to the end of the verb, is because we are using an imperative.
4. Fare una foto
To take a picture
We don’t take pictures, we make them!
I turisti fanno le foto al colosseo → Tourists take pictures of the colosseum
Puoi farci una foto? → Can you take a picture of us?
5. Fare una passeggiata
To go for a walk
Gli italiani amano fare una passeggiata nel centro della città → Italians love to go for a walk in the city center
P.S. You could also use the expression “fare un giro”.
6. Fare la spesa
To buy the groceries/to go food shopping
Vado a fare la spesa per la cena del mio compleanno → I am going grocery shopping for my birthday’s dinner
Note that fare la spesa is used only for food shopping! If you are buying anything else, you could just say “fare shopping”.
Yes! We do use the word shopping in Italian, a lot actually!
For example, you could say something like: "Devo fare shopping, il mio armadio e’ vuoto!" (I need to go shopping, my wardrobe/closet is empty!)
7. Fare un viaggio
To go on a trip, to travel
Non vedo l’ora di fare un viaggio! → I can’t wait to go on a trip!
Here we have two beautiful Italian expressions: non vedo l’ora and fare un viaggio.
"Non vedo l’ora" literally translates I don’t see the time, but it actually means something very different. It means that you can’t wait, you are looking forward to doing something and you’re very excited about it! In this case, you can’t wait to fare un viaggio, go on a trip!
8. Fare attenzione
To pay attention
Gli studenti devono fare attenzione mentre il professore parla → Students must pay attention while the professor is talking
Another way to say the same expression, that is very common as well, is "stare attento". We could rephrase the sentence above and say: "Gli studenti devono stare attenti mentre il professore parla".
Of course, don't forget to change the adjective "attento" according to the gender and number of the subject (attent-o/a/i/e).
Perfetto! We are done for today’s article. I hope you liked it! Make sure to check out my YouTube Channel (click here) to learn more about the Italian language and culture. If you have any questions about this topic you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me on Facebook and Instagram @teacherstefano. Ciao!