Archive | February 2018

Idiomatic Verbs : Faire

Faire – to make, do

In addition to being one of the most common verbs in the French language, faire is also used in a variety of idiomatic expressions.

Most expressions of weather in French use faire.

  • Quel temps fait-il ? Il fait chaud.
  • [What weather makes it? It makes warm.] (Literally)
  • How is the weather? It’s warm.

  • Il fait beau (temps). Il fait froid.
  • [It makes good (weather). It makes cold.] (Literally)
  • The weather is fine. It’s cold

  • Il fait mauvais (temps). Il fait du vent.
  • [It makes bad (weather). It makes some wind.] (Literally)
  • The weather is bad. It’s windy

  • Il fait doux. Il fait du soleil.
  • [It makes mild. It makes some sun.] (Literally)
  • It’s mild. It’s sunny.

Other common expressions using faire:

  • Cela ne fait rien. | That doesn’t matter.
  • Cela ne me fait rien. | I don’t care.

Faire un voyage (to take a trip)

  • J’aimerais faire un voyage. | I would like to take a trip.

Faire une promenade (to take a walk)

  • Nous faisons une promenade. | We take a walk.

Faire des emplettes (to go shopping)

  • Je dois faire des emplettes cet après-midi. | I must go shopping this afternoon.

Faire mal (to hurt, be painful)

  • Est-ce que cela vous fait mal ? | Does that hurt you?

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

A bientôt !



The Preposition à

Continuing from last weeks post with the preposition à.

The preposition à also:

  • Is used with nouns derived from verbs or with infinitives as a replacement for a subordinate clause.
    • à mon arrivée | when I got there (upon my arrival)
    • à notre retour | when we got back (upon our return)
    • à l’entendre chanter | when I heard him/her sing (upon hearing him/her sing)
    • à la réflexion | if you think about it (upon second thought)
  • Translates as at and to with certain nouns.
    • à ma grande surprise, joie | to my great surprise, joy
    • à sa consternation | to his dismay
    • à la demande de tous | at everyone’s request
  • Expresses a standard for judging or knowing (and means by, according to, from)
    • reconnaître quelqu’un à sa voix | to recognise someone by his/her voice
    • à ce que j’ai compris, il ne viendra pas | from what I understood, he won’t come
    • juger quelque chose aux résultats | to judge something by the results

Here are some idioms and useful expressions with à:


  • se couper au doigt | to cut one’s finger
  • qui est à l’appareil ? | who’s calling?
  • à côté | next door, nearby
  • à côté de | next to
  • à deux pas de chez moi | right near my house
  • être à la page | to be up to date
  • à la une | on the front page (newspapers, news websites)


  • à la fois | at the same time, at once
  • à l’instant | a moment ago
  • à ses heures (libres) | in one’s free time
  • à plusieurs reprises | several times
  • à tout moment | all the time

It was requested that I make more posts from last weeks blog post, so I will be working on that over the next few weeks. I thank you in advance for your patience!

Have a great week, everyone!

A la prochaine…


Prepositions : à

The preposition à has many uses in French. Remember its contractions: à + le → auà + les → auxÀ is also used before infinitives in many constructions.

Expresses direction and location in space:

  • aller à la banque | to go to the bank
  • être à la banque | to be at the bank

Labels distance in time and space:

  • habiter à quinze kilomètres de Paris | to live fifteen kilometers from Paris
  • être à trois heures de Nice | to be three hours from Nice

Expresses the point in time at which something happens (clock time, age):

  • à quelle heure le train part-il ? | what time does the train leave?
  • arriver à 7n heures du soir | to arrive at 7 in the evening
  • à dix-huit ansat (the age of) eighteen

Expresses the manner or style in which something is done:

  • manger à la française | to eat French style
  • coucher à quatre dans une chambre | to sleep four to a room

Labels the principal ingredient in a dish or a characteristic feature:

  • un sandwich au fromage | a cheese sandwich
  • une glace aux fraisesstrawberry ice cream
  • la femme au chapeau | the woman in (wearing) the hat
  • une chemise à manches longues | a long-sleeved shirt

Expresses possession or belonging to someone:

  • ce stylo est au prof | this pen is the professor’s
  • c’est bien gentil à toi | that’s really nice of you

Expresses the means by which something is done:

  • fait à la main | made by hand
  • aller à bicycletteà pied | to go by bikeon foot
  • écrire au crayon | to write in pencil

Is used in expressions of measurement:

  • faire du 70 à l’heure | to do 70 kilometers an hour
  • vendre au kiloau mètre | to sell by the kilogramby the meter
  • être payé au mois | to be paid monthly
  • un à unpeu à peu one by one little by little

Indicates the purpose for which an object is intended:

  • une tasse à thé | a teacup
  • sandwichs à emporter | sandwiches to take out

Have a great week, everyone!

Merci à vous !


Special Cases with “de”

Many verbs and verbal expressions require de before an infinitive complement. Among them are verbs signifying an interruption of the action expressed by the infinitive.

Special Cases with “de”

S’indiquer de is usually translated as “it makes (someone) indignant that”.

  • Le prof s’indigne de voir que nous ne travaillons pas.
  • It makes the professor indignant to see that we are not studying.

Se souvenir de is most often followed by the infinitive of the auxiliary + the past participle (the perfect infinitive).

  • Je ne me souviens pas de l’avoir vu.
  • I don’t remember having seen him.
  • Elle ne se souvient pas d’être sortie avec lui.
  • She doesn’t remember going out with him.

In French, n’oubliez pas de is used to tell someone to remember to do something.

  • N’oubliez pas de rédiger le rapport.
  • Remember to write up the report.

Bien faire de means “to be right in (doing something), to do the wise thing by (doing something)”.

  • Tu as bien faire de nous prévenir.
  • You were wise to let us know.

Venir de means “to have just (done something)”.

  • Il n’est plus là. Il vient de quitter le bureau.
  • He’s not here anymore. He has just left the office.

See you all next week, everyone. Have a good one!

A bientôt !