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

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!


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!


faire exprès de + infinitive


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


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


Q&A Forum 13 questions, 19 answers

RobinA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Maybe the title should include "de" i.e., faire exprès (de)?

Should the title include the word "de" (faire exprès de)?  Right now it just shows faire exprès.  Thank you.

Asked 1 month ago
Robin asked:View original

Maybe the title should include "de" i.e., faire exprès (de)?

Should the title include the word "de" (faire exprès de)?  Right now it just shows faire exprès.  Thank you.

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BillA2Kwiziq community member

Express intent

I think it would be useful pedagogically to tie faire exprès de to the english express in the sense of express intent

Asked 3 months ago

Express intent

I think it would be useful pedagogically to tie faire exprès de to the english express in the sense of express intent

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CharlesC1Kwiziq community member

Direct Object Rule

“Elles ne l’ont pas fait exprès” does NOT follow the direct object rule, and the lesson states this clearly. Is this because this is a case of le/la referring to a concept, so it’s not a direct object? Could their be a sentence in which a direct object would be used, and therefore require agreement? 

Asked 4 months ago
TomC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Hi Charles,

I believe that this is an instance of the neuter pronoun, 'il', which, as you say,can refer to a concept or an entity previously mentioned and since it is 'neuter' it has no influence on the past participle which remains invariable.

No other direct object pronoun fits this construction.

Of course in the passive it is entirely possible to have agreement with a preceding direct object:

Cette destruction gratuite que l' on voit a été faite exprès.

Hope this helps,

Tom

Direct Object Rule

“Elles ne l’ont pas fait exprès” does NOT follow the direct object rule, and the lesson states this clearly. Is this because this is a case of le/la referring to a concept, so it’s not a direct object? Could their be a sentence in which a direct object would be used, and therefore require agreement? 

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PaulC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Exprès as an adverb

This lesson is about the expression ‘faire exprès de’ + infinitive. My question is whether the word ‘exprès’ can also be used directly after other verbs to equally mean ‘on purpose’. For example, in the examples above is it possible to say “mon petit frère a cassé exprès ma poupée” and “j’ai renversé exprès mon verre” to mean the same things as “mon petit frère a fait exprès de casser ma poupée” and “j’ai fait exprès de renverser mon verre” ? 

Asked 8 months ago

Exprès as an adverb

This lesson is about the expression ‘faire exprès de’ + infinitive. My question is whether the word ‘exprès’ can also be used directly after other verbs to equally mean ‘on purpose’. For example, in the examples above is it possible to say “mon petit frère a cassé exprès ma poupée” and “j’ai renversé exprès mon verre” to mean the same things as “mon petit frère a fait exprès de casser ma poupée” and “j’ai fait exprès de renverser mon verre” ? 

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PaulC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

In an A2 test the correct answer to "She cries on purpose" was "Elle fait exprès de pleurer". Could "Elle pleure exprès" also be correct ?

Asked 9 months ago
MichaelC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I am curious too, Paul

Some verbs can be "phrasal", meaning that they may or must be followed by a preposition, and when they are followed by a preposition, they have a different meaning. Some verbs are always phrasal and others have phrasal forms.

Like parler. Parler means "to speak"

But <> is a phrasal verb meaning to speak to. <> I am speaking to Jean.

And <> is also a phrasal verb meaning to speak about or speak of. <> We are speaking about this book.

Phrasal verbs are very common in both Anglais et Français, and my profs say to learn them as a whole, with their preposition and their meanings.

Always (I think), when using a phrasal verb, you cannot omit the preposition without changing the meaning or simply being incorrect.

When using a phrasal verb with a pronoun, that is, when you know from the context, the object of the preposition, you replace both the preposition and its object with the pronouns <> or <>. 

<> replaces the preposition <<à>> and its object, and the <> replaces the preposition <> and its object. And these pronouns cannot be omitted.

And all this begs the question: can exprès be used by itself or must it always be part of an idiomatic faire expression? And I don't know the answer to this, but I say you posted almost a month ago and no one had responded, so I thought I'd restart the discussion.

PaulC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Thanks for your reply Michael. I think ‘exprès’ can be used by itself, but I have just asked the question again in a better way to see if a french speaker can confirm this.

In an A2 test the correct answer to "She cries on purpose" was "Elle fait exprès de pleurer". Could "Elle pleure exprès" also be correct ?

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CaroleC1Kwiziq community member

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?"
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Carole,

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

Hope this helps!

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?"

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CaroleC1Kwiziq community member

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?" 
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Carole,

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

CaroleC1Kwiziq community member
My carelessness, sorry.  Oftentimes when a verb uses "être" in p.c. I confuse it with reflexive.  Thanks.

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?" 

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DeborahB1Kwiziq community member

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

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

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!

 

DeborahB1Kwiziq community member

Sorry that should have been.

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

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

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).

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
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.

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

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ShrutiA1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

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 :)

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

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).

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 :)

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Tom RuneC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

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?
Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
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).
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Tom !

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

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

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?

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JohnB2Kwiziq community member

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

Asked 2 years ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer
Yes, to me "faire exprès" means to do something deliberately.

-- Chris. (not a native speaker)
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
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 )

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

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JenniferC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

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.
Asked 2 years ago
GruffKwiziq team memberCorrect answer
Hahah! This is one of our Hallowe'en questions. We don't keep sweets in cauldrons all year round...

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.

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MattB1Kwiziq community member

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

Why "ne pas", by itself, not around a verb?
Asked 2 years ago
NicholasC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Because the verb is an infinitive.
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonsoir Matt, The link below is for the lesson that covers negation of the infinitif. Negating infinitives in indirect speech%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
MattB1Kwiziq community member
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.

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

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

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Getting that for you now.