on s'en va

Announcements Posted on
How helpful is our apprenticeship zone? Have your say with our short survey 02-12-2016
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    hi i asked my grandma how to say 'we are going' in french

    she said it was said - 'on s'en va'

    i dont understand how it works. can someone explain how the grammer works like as i cant work out how it means we are going.

    i thought you can do 'je vais aller' in we form - like 'nous avons aller' - does that make sense in french?

    can someone explain, thanks.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Revenged)
    hi i asked my grandma how to say 'we are going' in french

    she said it was said - 'on s'en va'

    i dont understand how it works. can someone explain how the grammer works like as i cant work out how it means we are going.

    i thought you can do 'je vais aller' in we form - like 'nous avons aller' - does that make sense in french?

    can someone explain, thanks.
    On s'en va comes from the idiomatic expression: s'en aller in the infinitive, which means "to go away". You may know that the French often use on instead of nous in oral French. So on s'en va, literally translated, means "we are going away"; "we're off now" - that sort of thing.

    If you want to use the structure aller + infinitive for "we are going" in the nous form, you end up with the rather clumsy nous allons aller. This is grammically perfectly correct but it is not really ever used - just say it out loud and you'll see why: it's simply not very nice to say. (Your example of nous avons aller is incorrect as avons comes from the verb avoir, not aller).

    If you need a future and you have to use a nous rather than an on (for example, in more formal French) you should use the future tense: nous irons. If you are being informal you can use on with the aller + infinitive structure: on va aller.

    The difference between on s'en va and on va aller is one of meaning:
    on s'en va = we're off; we're going away
    on va aller à = we're going to go to + wherever it is you're going to go to.

    Hope that clears it up for you!
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    I think you are trying to translate - we are going - word for word.

    You need to know the different tenses in English and French.

    I go and I am going are both the same Present tense in French ie. je vais ( There is no equivalent of the present continuous tense 'I am going' in French.

    So, we are going in English is nous allons in French - just the present tense of aller - to go.

    Je vais aller ( that you suggest ) = I am going to go. in the nous form, nous allons aller = we are going to go.

    Have you got a reference book with verb tables and their English translations ? We used to reckon that learning the irregular verbs in French was absolutely crucial. You need to know off by heart the 3 regular French verb types ie donner = to give ( the verbs ending in er,) finir =to finish ( verbs ending in ir ) vendre = to sell ( verbs ending in re.

    Unfortunately nearly all the verbs you need to use most often don't follow the pattern any of these 3 ; they are irregular and do their own thing. Historically they are the remains of several different verbs with similar meanings, bits of which have been lost over the years and bits of which have survived eg the one which caused you a problem,

    Aller=to go ( the infinitive)

    je vais = I am going, I go
    tu vas =you are going, you go
    Il/elle va = he/she is going, he/she goes
    Nous allons= we are going, we go
    vous allez=you are going , you go ( more than one person or the polite form"
    ils/ elles vont = they (Masculine or feminine) are going, they go ( if a mixture of masculine and feminine you use the masculine one)

    You can see that there are at least 2 different verbs originally here - one beginning with v and one beginning with a.
    Which tenses are you supposed to know? There is just no alternative but to repeat the French and the English meaning, 30 times so that you'll know it - so je vais = I go, I am going, tu vas = you go, you are going etc. for all the verbs you need to know - fascinating isn't it?
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    thanks.

    why does "nous allons" make "on va" ?

    why does "nous allons" not make "on allons" ?
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Revenged)
    thanks.

    why does "nous allons" make "on va" ?

    why does "nous allons" not make "on allons" ?
    This is because verbs in the "on" form are conjugated the same as il and elle.

    Verbs are conjugated according to two criteria: person and number.

    1st person singular: je
    2nd person singular: tu
    3rd person singular: il, elle, on

    1st person plural: nous
    2nd person plural: vous
    3rd person plural: ils, elles

    On can be used in a number of ways:

    - to make statements of general truth or about everyone, eg: On boit beaucoup de thé en Angleterre; On oublie vite!
    - to make statements about someone (or people) whose identity is not clear, eg: On frappe à la porte.
    - to replace nous in informal French, eg: On part en vacances demain.

    Note that it is always conjugated the same way, whatever the meaning.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    NO!
    To say "we're going"/"let's go" in French it is ON Y VA or "Allons y"
    Like you said "je vais aller" = i'm going to go... but where? You would say "J'y vais aller", provided you have already expressed where you are going i.e what the pronoun "y" represents

    "Y" is a pronoun to replace the preposition à - The verb aller is used with the preposition à e.g. aller a la gare. Therefore à becomes "y" as a pronoun.

    "en" on the other hand, replaces the preposition "de", so it cannot be used in this manner. You would use it "J'ai beaucoup de mouchoirs" becomes "j'en ai beaucoup".
    à9RAlrOy$�Z����
    à9RAlrOy$�Z����
    à9RAlrOy$�Z����
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by pseudonymegg)
    NO!
    To say "we're going"/"let's go" in French it is ON Y VA or "Allons y"
    Like you said "je vais aller" = i'm going to go... but where? You would say "J'y vais aller", provided you have already expressed where you are going i.e what the pronoun "y" represents

    "Y" is a pronoun to replace the preposition à - The verb aller is used with the preposition à e.g. aller a la gare. Therefore à becomes "y" as a pronoun.

    "en" on the other hand, replaces the preposition "de", so it cannot be used in this manner. You would use it "J'ai beaucoup de mouchoirs" becomes "j'en ai beaucoup".
    à9RAlrOy$�Z����
    à9RAlrOy$�Z����
    à9RAlrOy$�Z����
    "J'y vais aller" is wrong, we say: "J'y vais" (I'm going there) or "Je vais y aller" (I will go there). "Je vais me rendre à la gare à vélo" : "Je vais m'y rendre à vélo".
    Saying "on s'en va" is commonly used in Quebec, where French grammar goes to die ( "C'est chez moi en plus!" ).
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by pseudonymegg)
    NO!
    To say "we're going"/"let's go" in French it is ON Y VA or "Allons y"
    Like you said "je vais aller" = i'm going to go... but where? You would say "J'y vais aller", provided you have already expressed where you are going i.e what the pronoun "y" represents

    "Y" is a pronoun to replace the preposition à - The verb aller is used with the preposition à e.g. aller a la gare. Therefore à becomes "y" as a pronoun.

    "en" on the other hand, replaces the preposition "de", so it cannot be used in this manner. You would use it "J'ai beaucoup de mouchoirs" becomes "j'en ai beaucoup".
    à9RAlrOy$�Z����
    à9RAlrOy$�Z����
    à9RAlrOy$�Z����
    (Original post by MartyO)
    "J'y vais aller" is wrong, we say: "J'y vais" (I'm going there) or "Je vais y aller" (I will go there). "Je vais me rendre à la gare à vélo" : "Je vais m'y rendre à vélo".
    Saying "on s'en va" is commonly used in Quebec, where French grammar goes to die ( "C'est chez moi en plus!" ).
    You are both confusing two similar, but different structures:

    aller à = to go to. Therefore: on y va - we're going there / let's go.
    s'en aller = to go away. This reflexive use of aller is an idiomatic expression, where en is not used in its usual way of replacing de + noun. On s'en va is also used in France, meaning "we're leaving / we're going away". It is perfectly correct and not considered as a symptom of impending grammar death!
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    ok sounds very very complicated, i don't really understand it

    they do say on s'en va in french, my grandma is fluent and not canadian.

    i was listening this week, they use 'on' all the time in conversation, never 'nous', so thanks for that as i didn't know they were the same.

    but otherwise it was over my head. dommage :P
 
 
 
Write a reply… Reply
Submit reply

Register

Thanks for posting! You just need to create an account in order to submit the post
  1. this can't be left blank
    that username has been taken, please choose another Forgotten your password?
  2. this can't be left blank
    this email is already registered. Forgotten your password?
  3. this can't be left blank

    6 characters or longer with both numbers and letters is safer

  4. this can't be left empty
    your full birthday is required
  1. Oops, you need to agree to our Ts&Cs to register
  2. Slide to join now Processing…

Updated: October 20, 2016
TSR Support Team

We have a brilliant team of more than 60 Support Team members looking after discussions on The Student Room, helping to make it a fun, safe and useful place to hang out.

Today on TSR
Poll
Would you rather have...?
Useful resources

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Quick reply
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.