Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day! Fare (Part 1): What I Am Doing

Kathryn for learntravelitalian.com
Kathryn Occhipinti, MD, for Learn Travel Italian.com

Do you want to speak Italian more easily and confidently by the end of 2018?

I believe that “commonly used phrases” are the key for how we can all build fluency in any language in a short time.

If we learn how to incorporate “commonly used phrases” when we speak Italian, we will be able to express ourselves more easily and quickly. We will be on our way to building complex sentences and speaking more like we do in our native language!

This post is the 12th in a series that originated in our Conversational Italian! Facebook group. Our group has had a chance to use these phrases.  Now I am posting them on this blog for everyone to try! 

Many “commonly used phrases” that will help us talk more easily describe
 “What I am doing…”

We will discuss the Italian expressions for our everyday experiences:
“I do…”, “I make…”, and “I take…”

 See below for how this works.

As we all master these phrases, so will you. Try my method and let me know how it works. What sentences will you create with these phrases?

Please reply. I’d love to hear from you! Or join our Conversational Italian! group discussion on Facebook.

This material was adapted from the Conversational Italian for Travelers textbook and reference books Just the Verbs and Just the Grammar  

                       found on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com.

The rights to purchase the Conversational Italian for Travelers books in PDF format on two electronic devices can also be obtained at Learn Travel Italian.com.

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Fare…

What I Am Doing in Italian

Many, many Italian expressions use the verb fare, which is most often translated as “to do” or “to make.” This short, simple verb comes up often in conversation.

In fact, the Italian verb fare has so many uses in Italian, many of which do not translate directly into English, that we must really learn to think in Italian to master the use of this verb. But, once mastered, speaking with these phrases will truly help one to sound like a native!

Because this verb is so important, we will give the full conjugation below. As always, remember that the most important forms will be the first three, singular forms io, tu, Lei/lei/lui, and the noi form for the plural. The stressed syllable has been underlined.

Fare – to do/to make 

io faccio I do/make
tu fai you (familiar) do/make
Lei/lei/lui fa you (polite) she/he does/makes
     
noi facciamo we do/make
voi fate you all do/make
loro fanno they do/make

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Read below for many (but certainly not all) of the phrases that use fare.* These phrases have been put into groups to aid in understanding the different situations in which fare should be used.

First, some common expressions that use fare with the meaning of to do are listed below. Notice the use of the conjunction “da” to signal intention in these phrases.

Ho molto da fare. I am busy. (I have many (things) to do.)
Ho altro da fare. I have other (things) to do.
Non ho niente da fare. I have nothing to do.
Non so cosa fare. I don’t know what (thing) to do.
Facciamo così.  Let’s do (it) like this!
Fai come vuoi. Do it the way you want.
Fallo! Do it! (command)
Che cosa posso fare per Lei?     What can I do for you?
(polite) (salesperson asks customer)
C’è poco da fare. There’s not much one can do about it.
Faccio tutto il possibile. I (will) do everything possible.

******

Below are some expressions where fare is directly translated into English with its alternative meaning of to make. Sometimes, though, when English would not use the verb to make or to do, Italians still use fare. See especially the last two very important expressions for daily life that use fare with English translations that show the differences in thinking between the two languages.

Faccio una telefonata. I make a telephone call.
Posso fare una telefonata? May I make a telephone call?
Mi può fare una telefonata? Could you make a telephone call for me?
Lei fa una bella figura. She makes a good impression. 
Lui fa una brutta figura. He makes a bad impression.
Faccio la dieta. I am on (making) a diet.
Facciamo sport. We are (making) playing sports.
Fallo/falla entrare! Show him/her in! Let him/her in! (command)
(Lit. Make him/her come in!)
Fare qualche domanda. To ask (make) some questions.

Do you remember these phrases from our blog: Everyday Italian Phrases… What I Asked? We revisit these important phrases now that we are discussing fare! 

“Posso fare qualche domanda?” meaning, “May I ask some questions?” 

Or “Gli ho fatto qualche domanda,” meaning, “I asked him some questions.”

(Notice how qualche is always followed by a singular noun.)

******

Many other expressions related to going and doing something use fare, with the translation of to take, as follows. In English, we would sometimes use “I am going to take” in the same sentences. Both meanings are expressed with the same Italian phrase.

You can precede these expressions with “vado a” for “I go to,” if you like, before adding the infinitive form of fare.

Vado a fare un giro in macchina. I go to take a drive in the car.
Faccio un giro in macchina. I take (am going to take) a drive.
Faccio una passeggiata. I take a walk.
Faccio due passi.  I take a short stroll. (lit. I take two steps.)
Faccio un salto da Maria. I drop by (lit. take a hop over to) Maria’s.
Faccio un viaggio. I take a trip.
Faccio la doccia/il bagno. I take a shower/bath.
Facccio il pisolino. I take a nap.
Vorrei fare una pausa. I would like to take a break.

The last group of phrases are helpful for tourists if they want help taking a picture of their favorite location or making a telephone call.

Faccio una foto.* I take a picture.
Posso fare una foto? May I take a picture?
Mi può fare una foto? Could you take a picture of/for me?

*From the Italian la fotografia.

If you can learn to use the verb fare in these expressions,
you will have really learned to think in Italian!

Remember these phrases, and I guarantee you will use them every day!

*Much of this material has been reprinted from our Conversational Italian for Travelers books.
Stay tuned for more blog posts on this topic!

Conversational Italian for Travelers: “Just the Verbs”

   Available on amazon.com and Learn Travel Italian.com

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2 thoughts on “Italian Phrases We Use EVERY Day! Fare (Part 1): What I Am Doing

  1. Excuse me, but Italians say: “non ho niente da fare”. We use a double negation. When you use “niente”, you must use “non” before the verb. The same situation, if you use “mai”. Have a nice day!

    Like

    1. Thank you Manuela for pointing that out. I fixed the typo. The blog has been out for awhile and all my blogs are edited by Italian editors, but sometimes these mistakes are missed. I am glad to know people are truly reading my blog!

      Like

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