Sequel to Ambiguity with voler

I was about to include the following sentence

J'ai fait voler l'avion.

to my answer therein but I realize that I was not sure. So, without a context, does above sentence convey:

I flew (have flown) the airplane.

I had the airplane flown.

I had the airplane stolen.



Without a context, the meaning is:

I did something that made the plane fly.

The chance for a plane to fly compared to the chance for a plane to be stolen essentially rules out the second interpretation.


J'ai fait voler la voiture.

would more likely mean the car took off for a moment because of you.

To make the stealing more plausible, you might say the ambiguous:

J'ai organisé le vol de l'avion.

and to make clear it is about stealing:

J'ai fait ce qu'il fallait pour que l'avion soit volé.

  • 1
    I agree. To better distinguish options 1 and 2, I'd add that since faire voler has not the same meaning as voler or piloter, I'd spontaneously think either that we're talking about a toy plane or a paper plane (you can make it fly), or that the person repaired a broken airplane for it to fly again. For the 1st option ("I flew the plane"), I'd always use piloter.
    – iNyar
    Nov 10 '20 at 22:20

It is ambiguous if taken out of context; it can have two translations.

  • 1/ I made the airplane fly.
  • 2/ I had the airplane stolen.

In « 1/ » the action can be one several sorts. It can be the supply of the necessary maintenance and fuel for the plane to be able to fly; It can be a repair that was needed; it can also be the exercise of particular piloting skills (for instance in a damaged plane that was hit while flying); in the case of scale models it can be the action of remote control piloting; today it might be used for remote control piloting of piloteless planes.

It can't be "I have flown/flew the airplane." nor "I had the airplane flown.".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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