Far(si) fare: another tricky construction

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Location: Salerno, Italy

Far(si) fare: another tricky construction

Post by Carlo » Thu Sep 07, 2006 1:56 am

From another of my posts at WRF, kindly provided by one of my many loyal friends over there:

"I'll keep the sentire/veder fare and far fare examples separate as there are similarities but also important differences:

With intransitive verbs it's pretty straightforward (it's the direct object that makes things complicated):

L'hai visto uscire?
I vicini lo hanno visto rientrare
Mi hai sentito mai sparlare di qualcuno?

Transitive verbs:

L'ho visto uccidere can mean I've seen him (being) killed or I've seen him kill because of the inherent ambiguity of the structure

With a noun, positioning avoids ambiguity:

Ho visto uccidere mio padre = I saw my father (being) killed
Ho visto mio padre uccidere (il nostro cane) = I saw my father kill (our dog)

As for your sentences, they all sound fine to me - the da te one emphasizing by you, not by somebody else:


Non ti ho mai sentito menzionare il suo name = I've never heard you mention his name [basically the same in both languages], but if I were to use the logic of the former example (that is, menzionare equates to past participle in English), I'd make the guess that Non ho mai sentito menzionare da te il suo nome = I've never heard his name mentioned by you
End quote

With far fare there are lots of added complications:

Again, with intransitive verbs it's easier:

Mi ha fatto lavorare tutto il giorno
Non farmi arrabbiare!
Chi ti ha fatto piangere?

Personal pronouns go with fare. Nouns go after the main verb:

Hai fatto uscire il gatto?
Lo hai fatto uscire?

Transitive verbs with passive meaning (past participle used in English) Here the situation is more complex because of the possibility of using a sort of reflexive structure instead of a possessive adjective:

Ho fatto lavare la macchina
Ho fatto lavare la mia macchina
Mi sono fatto lavare la macchina
(no mention of who washed it)

Ho fatto lavare la macchina a Carlo (ambiguous: I got Carlo to wash the car or I got someone to wash the car for Carlo)

Ho fatto lavare la macchina da Carlo (no ambiguity, although it's not clear whether it's the speaker's car or a friend's/colleague's etc)

Mi sono fatto lavare la macchina da Carlo (the mi makes it clear it's the speaker's car)

More cases of ambiguity:

Fallo leggere = make him read or have this book/essay etc read (by your students, friends etc)

Another potential ambiguity is due to fare meaning both make(=force, persuade) and let(=allow):

Fallo studiare! = Make him study!

Fallo (= lascialo) studiare (in pace) = Let him study (don't disturb him)

Once again, nouns follow the main verb:

Fai studiare Carlo

With a passive sense the pronoun may be placed at the end (in its full form) for contrastive emphasis:

Fallo punire!
Fai punire lui, non gli altri! E' stato lui a provocarli

And as if this weren't bad enough, reflexive verbs (like alzarsi) drop the reflexive pronoun:

Fallo alzare (make him get up)
Fai alzare i ragazzi
not alzarsi
And I'm afraid this isn't the end of the story..."

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