Recently a customer contacted us to say that there was a mistake in Unforgettable French. She said that the correct form was ‘Il y a du vent’ and not ‘il fait du vent’, which we’d used (along with ‘il fait froid’, ‘il fait beau’, etc) as an example of how ‘faire’ can be used to talk about the weather.
In fact, according to the French dictionaries we consulted, both forms are correct. Both Le Robert and Larousse say that ‘faire’ can be used ‘pour exprimer les conditions de l’atmosphère ou du millieu ambiant’ and give ‘il fait du vent’ and ‘il fait du brouillard’ among their examples.
Maria Rice-Jones, the author of Unforgettable French, admits that nowadays ‘il y a du vent’ has become so common that even many French people feel that ‘il fait du vent’ sounds odd. Please be rest assured though – it is perfectly correct.
Maria adds that she didn’t mention on page 57 (the page the customer queried) that ‘il y a’ can also be used, as that page focuses on the verb ‘faire’. However, she does use it on page 85, giving the future tense version: ‘Il y aura du vent en Normandie’.
Here’s hoping that ‘il y aura beau’ in the coming week!