In this article, I will explain how to use two expressions with the verb fare which are often used in spoken Italian to show approval or disapproval towards something: fare bene and fare male


Fare bene expresses approval or satisfaction towards somebody. For example, a friend tells you that he quit his job because could not put up with his boss anymore

  • Sai, ho deciso di lasciare il mio lavoro in ditta..non ce la facevo più! – 
  • You know, I decided to quit my job at the company…I couldn’t stand it anymore!
  •  Hai fatto bene, si vedeva che non stai più bene
  • you did well, one could see you were not well anymore

Another example:

hai fatto così bene a cambiare casa, quel quartiere è diventato così pericoloso! – you did so well to change home, that area became so dangerous!

Also, depending on how much you want to emphasize your approval you can use

  • Hai fatto benissimo – you did incredibly well
  • Hai fatto molto bene –  you did very well

Remember that fare bene is always followed by the preposition a and an infinitive verb

Fare bene (accordingly conjugated) + a + infinitive


In the same way, when you want express disapproval or dissatisfaction you can use the contrary expression fare male. Let’s see an example…

  • Sono andato a Cuba in bassa stagione e ha piovuto tutto il tempo…
  • hai fatto male a scegliere un periodo di bassa stagione, è vero che costa meno, ma è molto più probabile che piova
  •  I went to Cuba and it rained all time long..
  •  you made a mistake by choosing low season time to go there, it is true that cheaper, but there is better chance to find a poor weather


ho fatto così male a comprare quel vestito così costoso…non ne valeva la pena! – I made a big mistake by buying that very expensive dress…it was not worth it! 

Fare male (accordingly conjucated) + a + infinitive

Depending on the level of your disapproval, you can use

Hai fatto malissimo – you made a huge mistake
Hai fatto molto male – you made a big mistake

FARE BENE e FARE MALE in different contexts 

You might have heard the combinations fare bene and fare male in a different context and with a different meaning.

It’s the case when we want to say that something is good or bad for our physical and mental health. In this case, they are used in the third person singular e plural. Let’s see some examples

  • fumare fa male  – smoking is not good for you health
  • fare attività fisica fa molto bene – working out is good for your health 
  • mangiare almeno cinque frutti al giorno fa benissimo alla salute – eating at least five fruits a day it’s very good for your health

Finally, if you want to say that something is hurting you, just use the expression

mi fa male + singular body part
mi fa male la schiena – my back is hurting


mi fanno male + plural body parts
mi fanno male le gambe – my legs are hurting