I couldn't find any complete answer to my 2 questions here in the forum. I know based on context the verb "fare" can have 3 different meanings: 1 - fare in modo che 2 - permettere 3 -lasciare. So, first I want to know in addition to being based on context, is there any trick to distinguish each usage of these three?

Secondly, nevertheless I tried to use each one of these three meaning in following sentence, but I couldn't grasp the meaning:

Se prima i nonni facevano solo i nonni, oggi fanno i nonni e i genitori.

Being more precise, the sentence just before that was: "Voglio dire che secondo me (this fact) è proprio il contrario (compared to what you said).

  • I am not sure about those 3 meanings, no more, no less, nor about the difference between 2. and 3. (where did you find them?), but if anything they apply to phrases of the form fare + another verb: Lo faccio venire subito, Dobbiamo far riparare la lavatrice etc., so that does not apply to the sentence about the nonni.
    – DaG
    Nov 17, 2016 at 8:46
  • I just copy paste those definition from "Espresso 3" book from Alma publications (almaedizioni.it/en/informazioni/about-us)
    – Armin
    Nov 17, 2016 at 14:49
  • As an Italian mother tongue, I find it hard to conflate everyday use of fare with just those three meanings (and to discern the difference among 2. and 3.). As Gio correctly says, fare has countless fundamental meanings and idiomatic uses; even if your Italian is not enough to understand them, just have a look at the dictionary article he links or at this one: in the latter, your three meanings are probably those explained in section 4.a, among many, many more.
    – DaG
    Nov 17, 2016 at 18:00

1 Answer 1


I don't know where you took those definitions from, but FARE has many connotations and a wide idiomatic usage, it often translates the English "do and make".

In the exemple "fare i nonni" the meaning is:

  • Agire, operare (come farebbe un nonno)

"fare i nonni" means to behave in a way that is or is supposed to be typical of grandparents. So "fare i genitori" means to behave like e parent would do. It refers to the role that grandparents have in current society where they often have to take care of their grandchildren because parents are unable, for a number of reasons, to do so.



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