Faire exprès = To do something on purpose

Look at these sentences:

Il l'a fait exprès!
He did it on purpose!


Mon petit frère a fait exprès de casser ma poupée
My little brother broke my doll on purpose


J'ai fait exprès de renverser mon verre
I spilled my drink on purpose


Elle fait exprès d'être en retard
She is late on purpose

To say you do something on purpose in French, you use the expression "faire exprès (de)"

Note that it never means "to do something quick/express"

"Faire exprès de" + infinitive = To (do something) on purpose

 

Remember that as a (+avoir) verb in Le Passé Composé, the past participle of faire doesn't agree with the subject of the verb:

Nous avons fait exprès de casser ce vase.
We broke that vase on purpose.

Elles ne l'ont pas fait exprès !
They didn't do it on purpose!

See Conjugate faire in Le Présent (present tense) and Conjugate faire (+ avoir) in Le Passé Composé (conversational past)

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Tu as fait exprès de renverser le chaudron de bonbons!
You knocked over the cauldron of sweets on purpose.


Elles ne l'ont pas fait exprès !
They didn't do it on purpose!


Nous avons fait exprès de casser ce vase.
We broke that vase on purpose.


Avec tous les indices subtils qui croisent ton chemin depuis 3 semaines,
il faut vraiment le faire exprès!

With all the subtle hints crossing your path over the last 3 weeks,
you'd really have to do it on purpose!


Il l'a fait exprès!
He did it on purpose!


faire exprès de + infinitive


Elle fait exprès d'être en retard
She is late on purpose


J'ai fait exprès de renverser mon verre
I spilled my drink on purpose


Mon petit frère a fait exprès de casser ma poupée
My little brother broke my doll on purpose


Q&A

carole

Kwiziq community member

2 September 2018

1 reply

faire exprès de

In one of the quizzes, the sentence is "Il fait exprès de tomber.  / He falls on purpose.  Why is it not "de SE tomber?"

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

3 September 2018

3/09/18

Hi Carole,

The verb 'tomber' (to fall) is not reflexive in French .

Hope this helps!

carole

Kwiziq community member

9 June 2018

2 replies

IL FAIRE EXPRÈSS DE with a reflexive verb

"Il fait exprès de tomber" was listed as the correct response in a quiz.  Since it's reflexive, could/should it be "de se tomber?" 

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

11 June 2018

11/06/18

Hi Carole,

Tomber is not reflexive , it is simply tomber to fall.

carole

Kwiziq community member

3 September 2018

3/09/18

My carelessness, sorry.  Oftentimes when a verb uses "être" in p.c. I confuse it with reflexive.  Thanks.

Deborah

Kwiziq community member

12 May 2018

4 replies

Whay say "Il l'a fait exprès", not "Il en a fair exprès"?

Deborah

Kwiziq community member

12 May 2018

12/05/18

Sorry that should have been.

Why say "Il l'a fait exprès", not "Il en a fait exprès"?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

12 May 2018

12/05/18

Why would you use "en" in this sentence. The pronoun "en" usually replaces a phrase introduced by "de". I don't see anything that could be replaced by "en".

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Alan

Kwiziq community member

13 May 2018

13/05/18

Chris - it's "Faire exprès de" + infinitive = To (do something) on purpose Deborah - this is an interesting question. 
I think the answer might be that although de + noun can always be replaced by en, de + clause can only be replaced by en in certain cases. It can only be done when there is an equivalent construction with a noun.
For example: "j'ai besoin de boire quelque chose" can be expressed as "j'en ai besoin" because you can also say "j'ai besoin de quelque chose".
But you cannot say "il a fait exprès de quelque chose".
Maybe Aurélie or Cécile can explain this better. It might be useful to have a lesson on this.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

14 May 2018

14/05/18

Hi Deborah,

In fact you will hear both 'il l'a fait exprès' and 'il en a fait exprès' in French meaning  the same thing,

He did it/this on purpose.

The more polite form is to use the definite article:

Il fait toujours l'imbécile ... Il le fait  exprès . (He always plays the fool, he does it /this on purpose)

You can use the 'en'  in spoken French here is an example :

If you are asking to be excused for something you have just done inadvertently, you can say- 

"Pardon, j'en ai pas fait exprès "

But 

 "Pardon, je ne l'ai pas fait exprès" 

is better French for something you didn't do on purpose....

Not sure if this helps but hope it does!

 

Shruti

Kwiziq community member

9 May 2018

1 reply

Hello

Please if you can help me out to understand where to put de+infinitive. I am so confused. 

Par example- laissez-moi de penser pourquoi de ici ? 

C’est mon rêve de travailler à l’étranger. Why I putted de here I can simply write c’est mon rêve travailler.

Et je sais que je dois pratiquer. Why here it’s not de after pratiquer? 

Please if you can share me the lesson of this I have tried to search a lot but I am not able to understand properly where to put de+infinitive and where not.

Thank You :)

Chris

Kwiziq community member

9 May 2018

9/05/18

Hi Shruti,

the use of prepositions in French is not straightforward or intuitive. There is no simple rule to follow which would tell you unambiguously which presposition to use. At least, I am not aware of one.

Je laisse mes lunettes à la maison -- I leave my glasses at home.
Laisse du gâteau à ton frère. -- Leave some cake for your brother.

I haven't encountered laisser de very often, except maybe in:

Cela ne laisse pas de surprendre. -- That never ceases to surprise.

And by extrapolation, here is my explanation for laisser de penser.

Laisse-moi de penser. -- Leave me to think.
Laisse-moi penser. -- Let me think.

The input of a native speaker would be appreciated.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Tom Rune

Kwiziq community member

18 December 2017

2 replies

The preposition "de"

Is the preposition "de" needed whenever "faire exprès" is followed by an infinitive? Whereas with conjugated verbs we can do without "de"? Or is it more complicated than that?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

18 December 2017

18/12/17

You need the "de" before the infinitive. But I don't understand what other case you are referring to. Can you give an example? -- Chris (not a native speaker).

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

19 December 2017

19/12/17

Bonjour Tom !

The expression is faire exprès de + [infinitive]to [do] on purpose

I cannot think of cases that wouldn't follow that pattern...

John

Kwiziq community member

22 October 2017

2 replies

Would you use faire exprès to mean deliberately as those seem synonymous in English?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

23 October 2017

23/10/17

Yes, to me "faire exprès" means to do something deliberately.

-- Chris. (not a native speaker)

Ron

Kwiziq community member

23 October 2017

23/10/17

Bonjour John, In fact, the word exprès denotes an intentional act and can be used with other verbs and locutions: «Ma cousine Isabelle était venue tout exprès du pays pour s'occuper de lui.» from Marie Claire this translates to ---> My cousin Isabelle came from the country on purpose to take care of him. J'espère que ma réponse vous aiderait. Bonne chance et bonne continuation dans vos études en français, la langue de Molière et qui a été utilisé par le monde français depuis l’époque d’Hugues Capet Ron (un locuteur non natif )

Jennifer

Kwiziq community member

13 September 2017

1 reply

Do you French really keep your sweets in caldrons?

In England cauldrons are almost exclusively used by witches I believe. I would love to see their use extended to keeping sweets in.

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

13 September 2017

13/09/17

Hahah! This is one of our Hallowe'en questions. We don't keep sweets in cauldrons all year round...

Matt

Kwiziq community member

10 June 2017

3 replies

Please explain: Il a fait exprès de ne pas rendre la monnaie.

Why "ne pas", by itself, not around a verb?

Nicholas

Kwiziq community member

11 June 2017

11/06/17

Because the verb is an infinitive.

Ron

Kwiziq community member

13 June 2017

13/06/17

Bonsoir Matt, The link below is for the lesson that covers negation of the infinitif. https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/my-languages/french/view/611?rts=%252Fsearch%253Fs%253Dne%252Bpas%252B%25252B%252Binfinitive A simple explanation is: in a phrase where there is an infinitif, ne. . pas goes before the infinitif and does not «surround» it if you will. For example: J'ai pris la décision de ne pas faire un désordre. --> I made the decision to not make a mess. As can be seen, ne pas goes before the infinitif «faire». However, Je n'ai pas pris la décision de faire un déorder. --> I did not make the decision to make a mess. This is the usual negation form. As can be seen in comparing the two phrases, the first is to not make a mess while the other indicated that the speaker did not make the decision. J'espère que cela vous aidera bien. à bientôt Ron

Matt

Kwiziq community member

13 June 2017

13/06/17

Good to know, thanks. Just to let you know, I ran into this question in Section A2 and the page that explains it is tagged B2. So maybe that's why I never saw it? I usually read all the lessons.

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