Fare: the magic verb that will help you sound more Italian

12th April 2018

The Italian verb "fare" (do) is used absolutely everywhere. Once you've learnt it, you’ll be able to say tons of handy sentences in Italian.


Listen to the episode

Learning a language can feel like hard work sometimes!

One way to make it easier is by starting with words that Italians say all the time. Like the magic verb "fare", which means make or do. Once you learn it, you'll be able to use it in loads of handy Italian expressions.

To help you remember what you learnt in today's lesson, below you'll find bonus materials like word lists, quizzes and flashcards. But first...

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Bonus Materials

Remember and practice using what you learnt with the bonus materials for today's episode.

Today's Italian words

Allora = so
Ti faccio una domanda = I’ll ask you a question (literally = you I do a question)
Che fai sabato? = What are you doing on Saturday?
Che fai il sabato? = What do you do on Saturdays?
Faccio colazione = I have breakfast (literally = I do breakfast)
Poi = then
Faccio la spesa = I do the food shopping
Fa caldo = it’s hot (literally = it does hot)
Fa freddo = it’s cold (literally = it does cold)
Mi piace uscire = I like to go out
Per fare delle foto = to take some photos (literally = for do some photos)
Fai pulizia in casa? = do you clean the house? (literally = you do cleaning in house?)
Si, un sacco! = yes, loads!
Fare una festa = have a party (literally = do a party)
Fare un errore = make a mistake
Faccio = I do
Fai = you do
Fa = he/she/it does
Facciamo = we do
Fate = you all/both do
Fanno = they do

Take the Quiz!

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Click here to take the quiz for this episode: The Magic Italian Verb Fare

Italian flashcards

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Please note, this is not a word for word transcript.

Katie: Learning a language can feel like hard work sometimes! One way to make it easier is by starting with words and phrases that Italian people say all the time. One such word is the verb is fare, which means make or do, which is everywhere in Italian. Once you learn it, you’ll be able to use it in loads of different expressions. Find out more in 5 minute Italian episode 37.

K: Ciao a tutti e benvenuti a 5 minute Italian, hi everyone and welcome to 5 minute Italian. I’m Katie…

Matteo: And I’m Matteo. Ciao.

K: Today, we’re going to talk about one of my favourite verbs in Italian: fare, which means “make” or “do” in Italian (they only have one word in Italian for both of these words). This handy verb is used absolutely everywhere, so if you learn it you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck.

Let’s start with a conversation. After, we’ll analyse what we said bit by bit. Remember you can read the words in the show notes.

Allora, ti faccio una domanda: che fai il sabato?

M: Faccio colazione, poi faccio la spesa. Se non fa freddo, mi piace uscire per fare delle foto.

K: Fai pulizia in casa?

M: Si, un sacco!

K: So the first thing I said was:

M: Allora, ti faccio una domanda.

K: Allora means “So” as in “so then”. Ti faccio una domanda means "I’ll ask you a question".

Faccio means "I make" or "I do" and una domanda means “a question”. Italians don’t say “ask a question", they say “do a question” faccio una domanda. Then in Italian, to say you, as in I ask YOU, they say “ti” and it goes at the beginning of the sentence:

M: ti faccio una domanda

K: Then you heard the question:

M: Che fai il sabato?

K: What do you do on Saturdays. Che means "what", and fai means “you make” or “you do”. So we’ve got I make/do = faccio, and you make/do = fai. Il sabato literally means “the Saturday” and when Italians use il before the day of the week, it means “on Saturdays” as in every Saturday.

M: Yes, if I say che fai sabato I’m asking “what are you doing on Saturday?” but if I say che fai IL sabato (with IL), I’m asking: what do you do on Saturdays?

K: Then you heard:

M: Faccio colazione

K: Faccio colazione means I have breakfast. Here’s another example of how Italians use the verb "make" or "do" when we wouldn’t in English. So while in English, we say I have breakfast, in Italian, they say I do breakfast

M: Faccio colazione 

K: Next, you heard:

M: Poi faccio la spesa

K: Poi means "then". And faccio la spesa means "I do the food shopping".

M: Faccio la spesa

K: This is interesting because Italians distinguish between the two types of shopping. Fare la spesa means to do the food shopping, whereas for clothes they’d say fare shopping, using the English word. Then you heard:

M: Se non fa freddo, mi piace uscire

K: If it’s not cold, I like to go out. Literally “If it doesn’t do cold, I like to go out” In Italian, they don’t say “it’s cold”, they say “it does cold” fa (it does) and freddo (cold)

M: Or fa caldo, literally it does hot, to say it’s hot and fa freddo, to say it’s cold. Then you heard:

M: per fare delle foto.

K: To take some photos. Italians don’t say take, they say do: fare delle foto. Then you heard:

M: Fai pulizia in casa?

K: Which means, "do you clean the house?" Literally, "do you do cleaning in house?" Then Matteo said:

M: Si, un sacco!

K: Un sacco is a slang word for "a lot". A bit like "loads".

Let’s listen to the conversation again:

K: Allora, ti faccio una domanda: che fai il sabato?

M: Faccio colazione, poi faccio la spesa. Se non fa freddo, mi piace uscire per fare delle foto.

K: Fai pulizia in casa?

M: Si, un sacco!

K: Let’s quickly mention some other handy expressions with fare.

M: There’s fare una festa which means to "have a party" and fare un errore, which means “make a mistake”.

We learnt how to say “I do” which is faccio and "you do", which is fai. But there are a couple of other forms of this verb. If you want to say he or she does, or the formal you, say fa. To say “we do”, say facciamo. If you want to say “they do”, say fanno.

K: Finally, we’ve got the plural form of you in Italian, which translates to you all or you both do, which is:

M: Fate.

K: So how would you say “I have breakfast” - literally I do breakfast

M: Faccio colazione

K: You have breakfast?

M: Fai colazione

K: He or she has breakfast?

M: Fa colazione

K: We have breakfast?

M: Facciamo colazione

K: You all or you both have breakfast?

M: Fate colazione

K: They have breakfast?

M: Fanno colazione.

That’s all we have time for today, thanks for listening. And if you’d like to get more mini Italian lessons delivered to your inbox, don’t forget to subscribe by following the link below. Grazie, and ciao for now, see you next time, or as we say in Italian, alla prossima!

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