faire de lui / en faire

TomC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

faire de lui / en faire

I notice that the preferred translation of 'which makes him the first Frenchman to be in charge of the ISS' is 'ce qui fait de lui le premier Français en charge de la SSI' rather than 'ce qui en fait le premier ...'. All the grammar books I look at say that en can stand for 'de' plus a person - but I can see that in practice 'en fait' for 'makes him' is almost never said in French. Is it just too literary for this kind of phrase?

Asked 2 months ago
CélineKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Tom,

Such an interesting question!

In French, "en" is used to replace the preposition de + [thing]/[object]/[location] - not people. Therefore, using "en" to replace a person/people is grammatically incorrect.

However, in an everyday conversation, you might hear French native speakers use "en"But, using "en" as such will be rather "dehumanizing" / "negative" (and is grammatically wrong).

I hope this is helpful.

Bonne journée !

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

I wouldn't say that en faire is too literary in this context. It simply sounds off. In this case, you wouldn't use en to stand in for a person.

faire de lui / en faire

I notice that the preferred translation of 'which makes him the first Frenchman to be in charge of the ISS' is 'ce qui fait de lui le premier Français en charge de la SSI' rather than 'ce qui en fait le premier ...'. All the grammar books I look at say that en can stand for 'de' plus a person - but I can see that in practice 'en fait' for 'makes him' is almost never said in French. Is it just too literary for this kind of phrase?

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