The construct of “make someone do something”, to my knowledge, is “faire quelqu'un faire quelque chose”.

Il me fait payer le resto.

Elle nous fait attendre depuis 30 minutes.

Which is the other correct way to say ?

Elle fait à Alex attendre depuis 30 minutes.

Elle fait attendre depuis 30 minutes à nous.

The last one, I suppose it means “waiting for us”, not “make us wait”

What would be the construct if the verb is related to “faire”. Would we duplicate the verb “faire” like this?

Il me fait faire attention au temps.

(I mean to say pay attention to the time, as in careful not to take too long/not to be late)

Il me fait faire le lavage

Perhaps sounds weirder

Les chambres de tes enfants sont désordonnées.
Tu as besoin de leur faire faire le ménage.

  • What do you want to say ? You mean Alex is waiting for us, and it is because of her ?
    – Random
    Oct 1, 2015 at 13:02
  • She makes Alex wait for her for 30 minutes.
    – Kenny
    Oct 1, 2015 at 13:05
  • I would like to know if there is another way to write "Elle nous fait attendre depuis 30 minutes". As in "je lui dis" = "je dis à lui" and because we cannot say "je Alex dis" but must say "Je dis à Alex"
    – Kenny
    Oct 1, 2015 at 13:09

2 Answers 2


To use this construction without a pronoun you should use the following for intransitive verbs (those used without objects):

Elle fait attendre Alex depuis 30 minutes.

Elle fait sortir Pierre de la pièce.

With transitive verbs you can add the real subject as a complement introduced by à or1 par.

Elle fait payer le resto à Alex.

Elle fait ouvrir les huitres par son cuisinier.

If the subject or the object of the construction are pronouns, there is no other choice than placing them before the conjugated verb.

  • Subjects of intransitive verbs become direct object pronouns:

    Elle nous fait attendre.

    Elle le fait sortir.

    Elle les fait se reposer.

  • Subjects of transitive verbs become indirect object pronouns:

    Elle me fait payer le resto. / Elle me le fait payer.

    Elle lui fait payer le resto. / Elle le lui fait payer.

    Elle leur fait faire le ménage. / Elle le leur fait faire.

Note: For emphasis is however possible to use a preposition with emphatic pronouns in some cases, but the pronouns need to be repeated:

Elle nous fait attendre, nous !

Elle lui fait ouvrir les huitres, à lui !

And indeed “faire faire quelque chose à/par quelqu'un” is perfectly correct for “make/have someone do something” and it is often used in French.

1. Subtleties apply, cf. last remark here, it roughly corresponds in English to the nuance between “make someone do something” or “get someone to do something” and “have someone do something”.

  • Thanks a lot. And I need to look at intransitive and transitive verbs again.
    – Kenny
    Oct 2, 2015 at 13:15

If you are only 2 subjects (Alex and her), where Alex is waiting for her for 30 minutes, or Alex has been asked to wait for her, the sentence is simple :

Elle fait attendre Alex depuis 30 minutes

You can't use "à nous" at the end of the sentence, I only see one way to say it :

Elle nous fait attendre depuis 30 minutes

If Alex is waiting for us because of her, it becomes a quite complex structure, but you should say :

Elle fait Alex nous attendre depuis 30 minutes
Elle le fait nous attendre depuis 30 minutes (nicer)

The problem is that the sentence is odd and such a structure is very complicated to understand while speaking (in written expression, you can read 3 time the sentence, there would not be any problem, but in oral expression, you won't make the person repeat 3 times...).
So you should say :

Alex nous attend depuis 30 minutes à cause d'elle

For you last exemple :

Tu as besoins de leur faire faire le ménage

is not weird. We often repead twice "faire", so we understand it easily.

Note that the structure «Il me fait faire le lavage» is not weird but we don't say "lavage", we would say "la lessive" (clothes), "la vaisselle" (dishes), "la toilette" (shower)...

  • Could you elaborate what's wrong with "faire le lavage" ? I do hear in often, and linguee.fr/francais-anglais/traduction/faire+le+lavage.html
    – Kenny
    Oct 1, 2015 at 13:21
  • "Elle fait attendre Alex depuis 30 minutes" would mean "He make Alex wait 30 mins"?
    – Kenny
    Oct 1, 2015 at 13:23
  • I'm very surprised you get results from "faire le lavage". It is very odd for me as a French native. Maybe it is used in Quebec ? What is it supposed to mean ? About 2nd ask, I edited my answer
    – Random
    Oct 1, 2015 at 13:24
  • Faire le lavage I guess = do the washing = faire la lessive (?)
    – MrUpsidown
    Oct 1, 2015 at 19:52
  • 2
    En effet, lavage par métonymie pour linge lavé en français québécois, là où on aura lessive en France (DHLF/Rey). Merci.
    – user3177
    Oct 2, 2015 at 6:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.