We always say that the verb fare means "to make" or "to do." But the truth is that fare is used in all sorts of contexts to mean all sorts of things. In our weekly newsletters, we like to point out interesting words or expressions in the week's videos, which range from 5 to 9 new videos. This week there were plenty of instances of fare, so we focused on some of them in the newsletter. Here in the lesson, we do basically the same thing, but we give you video examples so you can hear and see the context for yourself. And maybe you will want to go and watch the entire video, or even better, subscribe if you haven't yet!
As we mentioned above, the verb fare can mean "to make" or "to do." But it is also often used to mean "to act like." In English, we might simply use the verb "to be."
Ma non fare lo scemo, dai!
But don't be an idiot, come on!
Fare is often used to mean "to let."
Mi può fare avere un piatto di minestra?
Can you let me have a bowl of soup?
Caption 3, Non è mai troppo tardi EP1 - Part 18Play Caption
The director of the reformatory was being polite. Here, the English verb could have been "to have" as in "have someone bring me a bowl of soup." Or it might even be "to make," as in, Fammi portare un piatto di minestra (make someone bring me some soup) or "to get" as in, "Get someone to bring me some soup." See the lesson Making It Happen about this very common use.
Here, fare is used with adverbs of time, for example: Facciamo tardi (we'll be late). Facciamo presto (we'll be quick).
Professo', però se andiamo così facciamo notte.
Professor, but if we keep going like this, we'll go into the night.
Caption 15, Non è mai troppo tardi EP1 - Part 18Play Caption
The previous example was from a conversation. This next one is from an interview. It's a bit trickier and uses the subjunctive after che (that).
Questo rapporto ha fatto sì che una volta terminato l'intervento sul Polittico, l'attenzione si sia spostata sulla Resurrezione.
This relationship meant that once the work on the polyptych was finished, the focus would have shifted to the Resurrection.Play Caption
The literal translation of this might be "to make it so" or "to assure."
We may have heard the expression lascia stare (leave it alone, leave him/her alone, leave him/her/it be), but we also sometimes hear lascia fare. They are similar in meaning but they employ two different verbs. In English, we would say, "let him/her be" or "leave him/her alone." Sometimes, it can mean "let him do what he's going to do," but not always.
Lascia fare, non gli da [dare] retta.
Let them be, don't listen to them.
Caption 36, La linea verticale EP 2 - Part 5Play Caption
Below is a common question asked of young people:
Cosa vuoi fare da grande? -Mi piacerebbe fare l'attrice o avere un lavoro sempre in quell'ambito.
What do you want to do/be when you grow up? -I would like to be an actor or to have a job in that area.
Captions 59-61, Le Interviste I liceali - Part 1Play Caption
And here is a conjugated version:
E da grande farò il maestro.
And when I grow up, I'm going to be a teacher.
Caption 11, Non è mai troppo tardi EP1 - Part 18Play Caption
Here, at least in the question, fare is the equivalent of both "to do" and "to be." We have to pay attention to the context to know which it is, but we also see that fare can be used in so many contexts that perhaps we don't have to worry about it too much. Just listen, repeat, and assimilate!