Faire + L'Infinitif = to have something done (causative)

Look at these sentences:

Tu as fait changer tes rideaux.
You had your curtains changed.

Nous allons faire refaire notre salon.
We are going to have our living-room refurbished.

Je me suis fait faire les ongles.
I had my nails done.

J'ai fait repeindre ma chambre.
I had my bedroom repainted.

 

See how when you want to say you are having / had / will have [something] done in French, you use the verb faire followed by an infinitive and then the thing being done.

ATTENTION: 

When it comes to reflexive verbs, me/te/se/nous/vous/se is placed BEFORE faire. Also, in Compound tenses, this structure uses être as the auxiliary:

Ils se font couper les cheveux.
They're having their hair cut.

Elle se fait rembourser.
She gets refunded.  

 

Je me suis fait faire les ongles.
I had my nails done.

Il s'est fait couper les cheveux.
He had his hair done.

 

GRAMMAR JARGON: This structure is called the causative.

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Il s'est fait couper les cheveux.
He had his hair done.


J'ai fait repeindre ma chambre.
I had my bedroom repainted.


Je me suis fait faire les ongles.
I had my nails done.


Elle se fait rembourser.
She gets refunded.  


Tu as fait changer tes rideaux.
You had your curtains changed.


Nous allons faire refaire notre salon.
We are going to have our living-room refurbished.


Ils se font couper les cheveux.
They're having their hair cut.


Q&A Forum 12 questions, 29 answers

How does use of the reflexive change the meaning of a causative phrase?

For example, I am wondering why the phrase je me fais faire de nouvelles sandales (I am having new sandals made) requires the "me" - would the meaning be changed if it was omitted?

Asked 3 weeks ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Fred,

If I have understood your question correctly you have to have the 'me' indicating that the sandals are being made for you.

If you say for instance -

Je fais faire de nouvelles sandales pour Odile = I am having new sandals made for Odile 

Je me fais couper les cheveux demain = I am having my hair cut tomorrow

Je fais couper les cheveux à Gaston demain = I am having Gaston's hair cut tomorrow

Hope this helps!

How does use of the reflexive change the meaning of a causative phrase?

For example, I am wondering why the phrase je me fais faire de nouvelles sandales (I am having new sandals made) requires the "me" - would the meaning be changed if it was omitted?

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JeanC1

I'm also confused as to why having new sandals made is reflexive. Can anyone clarify this for me (and others) please?

Asked 3 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Jean,

Yes, you would use -

se faire faire quelque chose = to have something made for you/to have something done to you

e.g

Je me fais faire une robe = I am having a dress made (for me)

Il se fait faire un costume He is having a suit made (for him)

Elle s'est fait faire les ongles et s'est fait couper les cheveux pour aller à la fête = She has had her nails done and had her hair cut to go to the party

Hope this helps!

That's just the idiomatic construction used in French in this case. Similar to English: I had me some sandals made, which is, of course, only used colloquially.

JeanC1

So would we use the reflexive for any footwear/clothing we're having made for ourselves?

Jean asked:View original

I'm also confused as to why having new sandals made is reflexive. Can anyone clarify this for me (and others) please?

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Faire

I'm having new sandals made.HINT: to make new sandals = faire de nouvelles sandales

Nothing in the lesson suggests "faire" is reflexive. 

Ergo: Why is "je me fais faire de nouvelles sandales" correct, in lieu of "je fais faire de nouvelles sandales." ???

Asked 6 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Drew,

Take a look at my answer to Jean to a similar question in the Q&A at the bottom of  this lesson, sorry I missed yours!

Hope this helps!

I don’t know either, but found this page which may help a little 

https://www.thoughtco.com/french-causative-le-causatif-1368818

It seems that having someone make you a cake or an egg or sandals or a dress is reflexive.  But I still don’t understand because, if the reason is that the subject is also the object OR benefiting from the action, why isn't the reflexive used when the subject causes their living-room to be refurbished for them? What if they cause a suitcase to be made for them, or a saddle?

Hopefully someone will give a clear answer soon. 

Faire

I'm having new sandals made.HINT: to make new sandals = faire de nouvelles sandales

Nothing in the lesson suggests "faire" is reflexive. 

Ergo: Why is "je me fais faire de nouvelles sandales" correct, in lieu of "je fais faire de nouvelles sandales." ???

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woops - why use the reflexive "me" in tge following sentence: Je me suis fait faire les ongles

Asked 8 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Patty,

It is because the expression is -

Se faire faire les ongles = To have your nails done  

which is reflexive.

woops - why use the reflexive "me" in tge following sentence: Je me suis fait faire les ongles

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I do not understand why there is the reflexive "me" in the following sentence:

Asked 8 months ago

I do not understand why there is the reflexive "me" in the following sentence:

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Reflexive in the future

Hello...for the future with reflexive verbs, can we say - tu vas te faire couper les cheveux, nous allons nous faire faire les ongles etc?

How about:

Tu te feras couper les cheveux...? You are will have your hair cut....? Does that work?

Merci beaucoup! 

Asked 11 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Danielle,

1. Tu te feras couper les cheveuxYou will have your hair cut

2. Tu vas te faire couper les cheveux You are going to have your hair cut

The difference between near future (2) and proper future (1) 

Hope this helps!

Thank you so much! :) 

Reflexive in the future

Hello...for the future with reflexive verbs, can we say - tu vas te faire couper les cheveux, nous allons nous faire faire les ongles etc?

How about:

Tu te feras couper les cheveux...? You are will have your hair cut....? Does that work?

Merci beaucoup! 

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UmiC1

Faire + L'Infinitif = to have something done using a pronoun

Hello!

I would like to know where we place a pronoun in the sentence using "faire + l'infinif."

1) Tu as fait changer tes rideaux ?

If I would anwer to this queation using  a pronon "les" for mes rideaux,  "Yes I had them changed,"  where would the pronoun be placed??

The same question... 

2) Je me suis fait faire les ongles.

Where do we place "les" the pronoun if we say, "You get them (your nails) done!"

Is there a certain rule that we need to know and follow??

Thank you very much!!

Umi

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Umi.

1) would be - 

Oui, je  les ai fait changer = Yes, I had them done

2)

Tu te les fais faire! = You get them done!

Tu te les as fait faire! = You got them done!

They are placed just before the verb.

Hope this helps!

UmiC1

Hi Cécile, the language super star,

How cool your title is!!!

;-)

But thank you very very much for your reply!

In fact, I did find out "the rule" before I read your answer in the French-Japanese dictionary!!!

It seems like any pronouns are placed before the verb "faire" + l'infinitif, that is the rule, isn't it?

I always thought that a pronoun comes just before "the second verb" when there are two verbs no matter what. However, that won't work for the case of "faire + l'infinif." Because the meaning will be changed!

There are so much to learn on French grammar! I am just overwhelmed!!

Thank you again for your help!!!

Best,

umi

CécileKwiziq language super star

Hi Umi,

I do agree with you that French grammar can seem overwhelming. We try to make it more approachable with digestible chunks of lessons.

To continue with the placement of the object pronouns, there are cases when two verbs are in the sentence and the object pronoun will be placed before the second verb in the infinitive. e.g.

Je vais les voir I am going to see them

J'ai décidé de le prévenir = I have decided to warn him

Il est parti la voir = He has gone to see her

Nous allons leur donner du miel = We are going to give them some honey

But this is not the case with  'faire faire' , probably because it is an entity, meaning 'to have something done' and you cannot split it ...

 

 

 

Faire + L'Infinitif = to have something done using a pronoun

Hello!

I would like to know where we place a pronoun in the sentence using "faire + l'infinif."

1) Tu as fait changer tes rideaux ?

If I would anwer to this queation using  a pronon "les" for mes rideaux,  "Yes I had them changed,"  where would the pronoun be placed??

The same question... 

2) Je me suis fait faire les ongles.

Where do we place "les" the pronoun if we say, "You get them (your nails) done!"

Is there a certain rule that we need to know and follow??

Thank you very much!!

Umi

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Je me suis fait cuire des oeufs et ...

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Engenious,

Indeed 'Je me suis fait cuire des oeufs' is 'I cooked myself some eggs'.

Without the context it is difficult to comment further but in French-  

Cuire (to cook) is something that only food stuff can do. 

Faire cuire  is what the person does. (to cook something)

and Se faire cuire is to cook /make yourself something (to eat).

Hope this helps!

In "L'etranger" I assume the writer means "I cooked myself some eggs" rather than "I had some eggs cooked" ??

The reflexive form of "faire" is used to make the action more indirect, to put some distance between the subject and the verb. At least that's my understanding. So most of the time this is translated as "having something done" rather than doing it oneself. In other cases the distance is more subtle. 

"Je me suis fait cuisiner des œufs" emphasises the fact that it is actually the stove who is cooking the eggs, if you want to look at it this way. Insome versions of US slang there is something similar:

I ate a burger. 

I had myself a burger. 

Mind you, that's the understanding I developped. A native speaker would need to have the final say on this.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Je me suis fait cuire des oeufs et ...

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So much about this I don't understand. To start with. Je me suis fait faire les ongles.

Why is it fait not faire or even fais? Also why les ongles and not mes ongles?
Asked 2 years ago
LauraKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Susan,

The basic construction is faire + infinitive = to have something done

Se faire + infinitive = to have someone done to/for oneself

Je me suis fait faire is the past tense = I had something done to myself (fait is the past participle)

Since it's obvious that the ongles belong to me, the definite article is used - see Using le, la, les with body parts
Thanks Laura, a big help.
As to the first part of your question, it is my understanding that someone else is doing my nails (I don't know if I'm right), that's why "fait"--3rd person singular. As to "les ongles," just like in Spanish, one does not say "mes ongles" when referring ot one's body part. One says "les."

Hi Laura, But why is "Elle se fait rembourser. She gets refunded" reflexive, please?

How is getting refunded different from having your house painted? How are you doing something for yourself if you are getting refunded. Thank you! (I find your web site invaluable.)

LauraKwiziq language super star

Bonjour Mark,

In "she gets refunded" she is the object that the verb is acting upon. She requested a refund, and got it. In "she gets her house painted," she requested that someone paint her house: the house is what's being acted upon, not her.

So much about this I don't understand. To start with. Je me suis fait faire les ongles.

Why is it fait not faire or even fais? Also why les ongles and not mes ongles?

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AurélieKwiziq language super star

Wendy asked: "Why isn't it 'll s'est fait FAIRE couper les cheveux? When do you use fais faire?"

Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Wendy ! In this case, it would be redundant and awkward to use "faire faire couper", as you'd be saying "He's had had his hair cut." You'll use "faire faire" when there's no other verb afterwards, to express "to have *something* done/made": "J'ai fait faire une robe pour Laura." (I had a dress made for Laura.) "Nous faisons faire des travaux dans notre cuisine." (We're having some work done in our kitchen.) I hope that's helpful! Bonne Année !
Thank you for the clear explanation, Am learning so much from this site. Bonne Année

Wendy asked: "Why isn't it 'll s'est fait FAIRE couper les cheveux? When do you use fais faire?"

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''Eva se fait laver les cheveux.'' means Eva is having her hair done?

Am I correct in thinking that Eva se fait laver les cheveux means she is having her hair washed as well as she has her hair done? I am slightly thrown because has her hair done looks like a past perfect construction but se fait laver like a present.
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Jennifer ! I agree with you than using "is having her hair washed" is probably a better translation in this context (I've edited it accordingly), but note that if you were talking about a habit for example, "she has her hair done every week", the use of present tense "has" would be correct. Here though it might look a bit like the present perfect "has done", note that in the present perfect, you wouldn't place the object of the sentence in-between "has" and "done" (e.g. He has done his homework). The structure used here is called "causative": to have + [something] + -ed I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !
I don't think we can assume that Eva is having her hair done. She's only having it washed.

''Eva se fait laver les cheveux.'' means Eva is having her hair done?

Am I correct in thinking that Eva se fait laver les cheveux means she is having her hair washed as well as she has her hair done? I am slightly thrown because has her hair done looks like a past perfect construction but se fait laver like a present.

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AnnB2

Why does the past participle of the reflexive se faire not agree in this case?

Asked 2 years ago
I believe it is because "fait" doesn't exist as "faite" or "faites", It appears to be immutable.. Apparently only the PP that end on é are matched in number and gender, as in: "Anne s'est douchée". I am not a native speaker, though. -- Chris.
AnnB2
Merci. I think I have found the answer - " In certain expressions, such as faire + infinitive, laisser +infinitive, se rendre compte, and others, the place of the direct object is held by an infinitive or other complement, which will always follow the principal verb. In these expressions no agreement is usually made".
LauraKwiziq language super star
Claus - that's not true at all. All past participles are subject to agreement, no matter what letter they end in. For example, la tarte que j'ai faite est délicieuse, les livres que tu as vendus sont intéressants, etc. Ann - that's correct, it's because this is the causative construction.
AnnB2
Merci In the example "la tarte que j'ai faite est delicieuse" the past participle in this case agrees with the noun (la tarte - the object of the sentence) (even though it is an avoir, not etre, construction) because it PRECEDES the participle. On the other hand "J'ai fait la tarte does not agree because la tarte (the object )comes after the participle. Merci Laura and Claus. Laura please can you explain the causative construction, which i'm sure is a better way of explaining this grammar point?
LauraKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Ann, This is the lesson on the causative: Faire + L'Infinitif = to have something done (causative) I've asked Aurélie to add a note to that effect.

Why does the past participle of the reflexive se faire not agree in this case?

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