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In English, one possible use of the verb to do is in combination with the pronouns it/this/that to form a stand-in for a more explicit action when the action is already known to the audience, like so:

I'm doing this because it's necessary.

(Possible stand-in for the more explicit "I'm knocking this wall down because it's necessary.")

Or...

Why are you doing that?
(Possible stand-in for the more explicit "Why are you knocking that wall down?")

Or...

I saw him doing it the other day.
(Possible stand-in for the more explicit "I saw him inflating balloons the other day.")

Can faire ça/cela be used the same way, as a replacement for nearly any action in general?

Je fais cela parce que c'est nécessaire.
Pourquoi est-ce que tu fais ça ?
Je l'ai vu faire ça l'autre jour.

Is it natural even if someone specifies a different action? E.g.:

Pourquoi est-ce que tu tournes en rond en courant ? (Why are you running in circles?)
Je fais ça parce que j'attends mon ami et je suis impatient.

  • I have no idea how to express that properly, or why we do that, but je le fais parce que works better than je fais cela parce que in some cases. – njzk2 Apr 25 '16 at 21:14
  • Hopefully that distinction is included in the eventual high-quality answer I am waiting for! – temporary_user_name Apr 25 '16 at 21:19
  • Did I answer your question ? If so, don't hesitate to mark the question as answered, so that other people don't try to create a needless answer (and so that I can earn a few fame points :p). If I didn't, tell me what to add ;). – user10155 Apr 26 '16 at 13:11
  • Lol, thank you for the reminder. As a moderately prolific Stack Exchange user with 5800+ rep on this site alone, I am well aware of the "Accept Answer" feature, and will make use of it when I am ready, which may sometimes come weeks or months later after I have let the question "simmer." There's no need to remind people! Just write high-quality posts and rep will come to you quite naturally. – temporary_user_name Apr 26 '16 at 14:36
  • Sometimes I like to leave the question open just so that others might answer. – temporary_user_name Apr 26 '16 at 16:32
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Cela dépend des cas:

Je fais ça (ou fais cela qui est plus soutenu) est la forme très courante, pour remplacer :

  • n'importe quelle action concrète: Je casse des briques.

  • affirmation : Tu racontes des histoires ? oui, je fais ça.

Cela s'emploie moins naturellement (mais c'est acceptable et compréhensible) pour:

  • des pensées ou actions non concrètes : Tu penses à ça ? J'y pense (plutôt que je fais ça).

  • des déplacements: Tu vas à la fête ? J'y vais (plutôt que je fais ça).

  • certaines situations: Tu attends ? J'attends (plutôt que je fais ça).

Cela ne s'emploie pas pour des verbes de perception:

  • je le vois, je le sens (sauf si c'est volontaire), je l'entends.

  • sûrement d'autres ...

4

Yes, 'faire' comes handy in a lot of situations. It can be a replacement for 'do', 'make' (please edit if you see other words).

If you don't know how to say something otherwise, feel free to use it.
However, please do remember that, because it is a general word, it is vague. Therefore, as much as possible, try to be more specific when you want to say something.

For exemple, this is a sentence in English :

"I built this house."

If you don't know the word for "build" in French, you can always say :

"J'ai fait cette maison."

But it is much better to use :

"J'ai construit cette maison."



Regarding the question about replacing "faire ça" with "le faire", this just a rule of convenience :
Just as English allow one to replace

"give the key to that person"

with

"give her the key"

French allow one to replace

"Je vais faire le ménage dans toute la maison."

with

"Je vais le faire."

IF AND ONLY IF the part replaced with 'le' is clear for both of the persons talking.
That is to say, you can't say

"Je vais le faire."

out of the blue, you will instead say

"Je vais faire le ménage dans toute la maison."

  • Feel free to edit or criticise my answer. ;) – user10155 Apr 25 '16 at 21:40
  • 1
    +1, but would you say “J’ai fait ça” for “I built this” or would “je l’ai fait(e)” be “better”? Is it possible that when “faire” is actually part of the original verbal phrase in question (or close enough to it to be nearly interchangeable, like “faire” and “construire” might be) and therefore is not actually serving solely as a pure stand-in for another verb, ça/cela can/should be avoided and le/la used instead? (for [a sketchy] example: “T’as fait l’amour ce matin?/Oui, je l’ai fait!” VS “T’as baisé ce matin?/Oui j’ai fait ça!”) – Papa Poule Apr 25 '16 at 22:50
  • Is it better this way ? – user10155 Apr 25 '16 at 23:50
  • Btw, if 'faire' wasn't part of the original sentence, we usually just answer 'yes' and are to lazy to say anything more. :p – user10155 Apr 25 '16 at 23:58

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