Explaining "far fare"
What tense is "far fare"? How can I understand this sentence and what can I search for in order to find grammatically similar examples?
Non far fare la fila a tua madre inutilmente!
"Don't make your mother wait in line needlessly." (Is the translation of your sentence.)
A negative command (Don't do something) in the "tu" form uses (non +) the infinitive — Talk! = Parla! — Don't talk! = Non parlare!
Contrast with the formal, "Lei" form: Talk! = Parli! — Don't talk! = Non parli! (This imperative (for the 2nd person formal) is formed the same way as the present subjunctive, by the way).
Note: The final "e" of the first "fare" in your sentence is elided (removed) just to sound better.
So, to answer your question, the verb is in the present tense, but in the imperative (ie command/request) mood.
There's a lot of grammar there, it takes a while for it all to sink in, so don't feel bad.
Thanks for your comment! I know the imperative really well, but what confuses me is having two verbs together. I know modal verbs work this way, but I'm not yet clear on how fare works. Could you also give some examples with "fare fare" as positive imperative and combined with pronouns?
In the Italian grammar it's called causative construction. Far fare is used when the subject of the action has another person that perform the action for him/her. The causative construction is composed from two phrases approached without connectives: in the first phrase there is the verb fare (or lasciare) in the finite mood, in the second phrase the predicate is formed by the infinitive (of any verb).
In your example : "Non far" - 1st phrase ( finite mood: imperative- imperativo, 2nd person)
"fare la spesa a tua madre inutilmente" - 2nd phrase ( indefinite mood: infinitive - infinito)
The negative imperative for 2nd person (tu) in all conjugations is formed by placing non before the infinitive (tu) non fare!
For a clearer explanation you can read here:
https://issuu.com/yashalvares/docs/italian_grammar_book (pag.217 unit 21.7 , 245 of pdf)
http://www.slideshare.net/pkiprovska1/italian-grammar (pag.188 , 204 of 369 in the pdf)
http://ielanguages.com/frenchitalian4.html (even if you read French,it's in english !:D) If you scroll down the page you can read "fare causativo".