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Getting the Facts Straight

In her new sci-fi series Pas de crédit dans le monde des clones, Patricia imagines a dystopian future in which all credit card companies have merged into one:

 

Du fait de nombreuses fusions, il ne reste plus qu'une société anonyme de cartes de crédit.

Because of many mergers, there remains only one limited liability credit card company.

Caption 15, Patricia - Pas de crédit dans le monde des clones - Part 1

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Du fait de is one of several French expressions that mean "because" (you can learn more about these expressions in our past lesson on the topic). It's also one of many expressions featuring the word fait, which you might recognize as a conjugation of the verb faire (to make, to do). But fait is also a noun meaning "fact"—du fait de literally means "from the fact of." In this lesson, we'll review some other "fact"-based expressions in French. 

 

Patricia uses a similar expression to du fait de earlier on in her video—de ce fait(therefore, literally "from this fact"):

 

De ce fait, toutes les procédures de paiement sont réalisées sans argent physique.

Therefore, all payment procedures are performed without physical money.

Caption 13, Patricia - Pas de crédit dans le monde des clones - Part 1

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Now that you know that fait means "fact," you can probably guess what en fait means. Alessandro uses it when interviewing a flea market vendor: 

 

Vous, c'est une véritable passion que vous partagez tous les jours en fait.

For you, it's a true passion that you share every day, in fact.

Caption 6, Cap 24 - Paris : Alessandro fait les Puces! - Part 1

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The vendor responds in the next caption with another fait expression, tout à fait (exactly):

 

Oui, oui. Tout à fait.

Yes, yes. Exactly.

Caption 7, Cap 24 - Paris : Alessandro fait les Puces! - Part 1

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Don't confuse en fait with au fait, which means "by the way" or "incidentally":
 

Ah, au fait, j'ai parlé à Vanessa de nos nouveaux voisins.

Oh, by the way, I spoke to Vanessa about our new neighbors.

Caption 22, Le Jour où tout a basculé - Espion dans l'immeuble - Part 8

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En fait and au fait are easily confused not only because they look similar, but also because the t is pronounced in both of them. In most other instances of the word fait, the t is silent.  

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If someone has done a good job on something, you can say, Bien fait! (Well done!) In this case fait isn't a noun but the past participle of the verb faire:

 

Oui, chef. Bien fait!

Yes, chief. Well done!

Caption 46, Il était une fois... L’Espace - 3. La planète verte - Part 2

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As a noun, fait doesn't only mean "fact." It can also mean "event" or "occurrence" depending on the context:

 

Cette histoire est inspirée de faits réels.

This story is inspired by real events.

Caption 21, Le Jour où tout a basculé - Espion dans l'immeuble - Part 1

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This lesson is now a fait accompli (accomplished fact). Thanks for reading! 

 

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