French Faire Causative Construction

What is the faire causative construction and how do you use it?

  • Describes an action that is being caused by someone or something
  • This action is not being performed by someone or something
  • The subject of the sentence makes someone do something

How is the faire causative formed?

  • Subject + Conjugated form of FAIRE + Infinitive
  • After the infinitive you need a RECEIVER of the action that is being caused

👉 Scroll down to watch my video lesson on the faire causative 👈

Je fais réparer le lave-vaisselle.I am having the dishwasher repaired.
Je + fais + infinitive + receiver (le lave-vaisselle)I am making the dishwasher get repaired.
Je fais manger les enfants.I am having the children eat.
Je + fais + manger + receiver (les enfants)I am making the children eat.

In English, when we translate FAIRE as I AM MAKING it really sounds like we are almost forcing the receiver to do the action.  That is not how you should translate these because in French the sense of the verb FAIRE is different in the causative.  You are HAVING someone do something.

Est-ce que tu vas faire laver tes chemises?Are you going to have your shirts washed?
Futur Proche:  Tu + vas + faire infinitive + other infinitive + receiver (tes chemises)Are you going to make your shirts get washed?
Tu fais faire un bouquet de fleurs?Are you having a bouquet of flowers made?
Tu + fais + infinitive + receiver (un bouquet de fleurs). Are you making a bouquet of flowers get made?

Other examples

Il fait sortir les mouches.He’s making the flies go away.
Vous faites travailler vos Ă©lĂšves. You are having your students work.
Les oignons font pleurer maman.Onions make mom cry.
Elle fait faire sa robe de mariĂ©e. She’s having her wedding dress made.

Faire faire

FAIRE FAIRE gets it’s own section because it looks so weird, but it is correct!

Je vais me faire faire les ongles.I am going to have my nails done.
Tu vas te faire faire couper les cheveux? Are you going to have your hair done?
Elle veut faire faire une tarte. She wants to have a pie made.
On devrait faire faire les pizzas pour la fĂȘte. We should have the pizzas made for the party.

Faire causative with reflexive pronouns

Note that with the reflexive causative, the reflexive pronoun is always the indirect object. Remember the rule that says when a reflexive pronoun is indirect you do NOT make agreement on the past participle.

se faire couper les cheveux
Ma fille se fait couper les cheveux ce matin.
Ma fille s’est fait couper les cheveux ce matin.  *no agreement
My daughter is having her hair cut this morning.
se faire apporter (livrer) le déjeuner
Tu devrais te faire apporter le déjeuner au bureau.
You should have lunch brought to you at work.
se faire virer
Elle s’est fait virer. *no agreement
She got fired.
se faire avoir
Je ne vais pas me faire avoir.
I’m not going to be had.
se faire mouiller
Tu te feras mouillé(e) si tu ne prends pas de parapluie.
You’ll get wet if you don’t take an umbrella.
se faire arrĂȘter
Les mĂ©chants se sont fait arrĂȘter. *no agreement
The bad guys got arrested.

Faire causative with pronouns

Normally when a compound tense is preceded by a direct object, there needs to be agreement.  However, this is not the case with the causative, which has no direct object agreement.

Je fais Ă©crire Robert.Je le fais Ă©crire.
Tu te fais laver ta voiture? Tu te la fais laver.
Il peut se faire raser le visage. Il peut se le faire raser.
J’ai fait Ă©tudier Chantal. Je l’ai fait Ă©tudier. *no agreement: faite
Je fais promener le chien. Je le fais promener.
Il a fait manger les vaches. Il les a fait manger. *no agreement:  faits

The problem with French grammar for English speakers is that the words just aren’t set up the same was as we’re used to in our own language. Learning tenses, pronouns, and adjectives is a big part of French grammar, BUT there are many idiomatic expressions and ways of speaking to learn if you really want to be able to express yourself. For example, in this course you will learn a way to use the verb FAIRE that you may not know about. It is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL that you learn about the causative construction using faire. I’m not kidding. You have to know how to do this. Why is it so important? Well, think of all the times when you want to say things like:

I must have the dishwasher repaired.

WRONG ANSWER: Je dois rĂ©parer le lave-vaisselle.

CORRECT ANSWER: Je dois faire rĂ©parer le lave-vaisselle.

Are you going to have your shirts ironed?

WRONG ANSWER: Tu vas repasser tes chemises?

CORRECT ANSWER: Tu vas faire repasser tes chemises?

I am going to have a cake made.

WRONG ANSWER: Je vais faire un gĂąteau.

CORRECT ANSWER: Je vais faire faire un gĂąteau.