Faire attention à...

French Phrase: “Faire Attention à” (Faire Gaffe à)

"Faire attention à" means to pay attention to or to be careful about. It's very commonly used in everyday French to tell someone to be careful or to warn them about something or someone.

Use it for focus

You can use it to tell someone to focus on/keep their attention on something.

"Fais attention à la route quand tu conduis."

Pay attention to (focus on) the road when you drive.

"Surtout, faites bien attention aux instructions."

Make sure your pay attention to the instructions.

Use it for awareness

You can use the phrase to tell someone to be aware of something.

"Il faut faire attention à ce qu'on mange."

You need to pay attention to what you eats.

"On doit faire attention à l'heure, sinon on risque d'être en retard..."

We need to pay attention to (keep track of) the time, otherwise we might be late.

Using it for caution

You can use it to tell someone to be cautious.

"Fais attention à ce type."

Watch out for (beware of) this guy.

"Faites attention à ne pas tomber."

Be careful not to fall.

"Fais attention!"

Be careful!

Alternative: "faire gaffe à" (colloquial)

"Faire gaffe à" is an informal French expression similar to "faire attention à" but more colloquial. It also means "to watch out for" or "to be careful about."

It's very often used in casual conversations. In all the examples below, you could easily say "attention" instead of "gaffe" which is more informal/colloquial:

"Fais gaffe à la marche!"

Watch out for the step!

"Fais gaffe à tes affaires."

Be careful with your belongings.

"Fais gaffe à ce type!"

Watch out for that guy!

"Fais gaffe aux voitures en traversant la rue."

Watch out for cars when crossing the street.

"Fais gaffe, tu vas tomber!"

Watch out, you're going to fall!

"Fais gaffe à ne pas renverser ton verre."

Be careful not to spill your drink.

"Fais gaffe à tes fesses!"

Watch your back!

More formal alternative: "prendre garde à"

"Prendre garde à" also means "to be cautious of" or "to be careful of". It's a bit more formal than "faire attention à", and can be used in formal writing

"Prenez garde à la marche."

Be cautious of the step.

"Prends garde à tes paroles!"

Be cautious of your words!

Note that, depending on context, the above sentence may have a threatening connotation.

"Prends garde!"

Watch out!

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