Could you please help me to understand better this phrase:

"Chi glielo fa fare di uscire sabato mattina così presto?"

Intuitively I would say it means "who makes him go out...", but the second fare in infinitive and the pronoun "lo" makes it look too complicated.

Thanks in advance!

  • @Charo no, “chi gli fa uscire” is totally wrong. If you want to put it like that, you can say “chi lo fa uscire” but it still means something else.
    – user5327
    May 19, 2019 at 10:53
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    @Marybnq: Grazie mille! Avevo sbagliato il pronome nel mio commento precedente, quindi l'ho cancellato e adesso lo scrivo di nuovo con la correzione che mi hai fatto. Ti ringrazio perché partecipare in questo sito è innanzitutto per me un'opportunità per imparare l'italiano.
    – Charo
    May 19, 2019 at 11:34
  • 2
    As I understand it (but I would like to know if Italian mother tongues agree), it's a construction used to achieve emphasis in oral speech. You could simply say "Chi lo fa uscire sabato mattina così presto?", but rewording this sentence in the way you have written in your question is much more emphatic.
    – Charo
    May 19, 2019 at 11:35
  • @Charo figurati, è un piacere!
    – user5327
    May 19, 2019 at 11:39

2 Answers 2


Let's unpack a complex phrase such as Chi glielo fa fare di XXX?

First of all, in Italian you can use a form of the verb fare followed by the infinitive of any verb in a number of situations. They mean either an order or coercion or strong suggestion (mi hanno fatto aspettare un'ora = “they made me wait for an hour”), or conversely a permission (mi fa rimanere finché voglio = “he lets me stay as long as I wish”; mi fa vedere il suo giardino = “he shows me his garden”).

As a special case of this, you can say fa fare (or faccio/fai/ha fatto... fare), meaning “forces/allows to do”. This appears especially in the fixed idiom you have seen. Chi te lo fa fare? would literally mean “Who forces you to do it?” (even more literally, “Who makes you do it?”), but is a fixed phrase to say “Why ever do you do it?”, implying that it is not a sound decision. The same holds, of course, for Chi ce lo fa fare?, Chi ve lo fa fare? etc.

Glielo is simply a unified form for gli + lo, that is, “it (lo) to him (gli)”.

In the (often rhetorical) question Chi glielo fa fare di uscire...? one more phenomenon appears. Chi glielo fa fare?, alone, would mean, as seen, “Who makes him do it?”, in the sense of criticising some intention. The di uscire... part specifies what lo (“it”) refers to. Literally (and somewhat ungrammatically) it would be something like “Who makes him do it, of going out...?”

In a more idiomatic way, you could rephrase that sentence in English more or less as “What possessed him to get out so early on Saturday morning?”

  • 3
    To whomever downvoted: any suggestion to make this a better answer?
    – DaG
    May 19, 2019 at 13:19
  • Lately I have seen lots of downvotes without any comment to explain the reason (for instance, the question and this answer have a downvote and I cannot understand why). Please see this Meta discussion.
    – Charo
    May 19, 2019 at 15:15
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    Thanks for helping me out! May 19, 2019 at 18:59

The correct translation of “chi glielo fa fare” is:
“Why is he bothering to” or “why would he” or “what makes him” or “why on earth would he”.

As you can read here, It’s a critique to the person that, in this case, is going out early as it can be an unnecessary or problematic action.

There’s even a more informal way to translate it and it’s “why the f**k did he...”

The personal pronoun ‘lo’ is just the atonic form of “lui”. It’s the direct object of the sentence.

While you say “fa fare” because the expression implies that someone is making the other person do something.

To let you better understand it we can put it like “chi fa sì che lui...” NB: we don’t say this in Italian, it’s just to let you fully understand the meaning.

  • 4
    Good answer, but I'm not sure I'm with you on the part where you write the personal pronoun ‘lo’ is just the áton form of “lui”. It lets you know that the subject of the sentence is a male. I don't think "lo" refers to the subject of the sentence. Would you say Chi gliela fa fare if the person we're speaking about is a woman? I think lo refers to the next sentence: "chi gli fa fare questa azione?", where "questa azione=uscire sabato mattina così presto". May 19, 2019 at 11:15
  • @FedericoPoloni you’re right, my bad, I’m editing my answer, thanks!
    – user5327
    May 19, 2019 at 11:18
  • By “áton” I get it that you mean “atonic” (or “unstressed”), don't you?
    – DaG
    May 19, 2019 at 12:50
  • @DaG yes I looked that up...
    – user5327
    May 19, 2019 at 13:10
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    Thank you for your help! May 19, 2019 at 18:58

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