All About the French Verb 'Aller' ('to Go')

The Basics, From Forming the Near Future to Idiomatic Expressions

The passengers go toward the back of the plane.
The passengers go toward the back of the plane. Image Source/DigitalVision/Getty Images

Aller ("to go") is one of the 10 most common verbs in the French language, alongside such essential verbs as être ("to be") and avoir ("to have"). Aller and its highly irregular conjugations play a key role in expressing the near future. Plus, it appears in an array of idiomatic expressions. Here are the basics of using aller.

The Meaning of 'Aller'

Aller most often means "to go" in the same senses that "to go" is used in English.

For more meanings and uses, scroll down to expressions.

  • Je vais à la banque. > I'm going to the bank.
  • Il va avec vous. > He's going with you.
  • Nous allons au cinéma. > We're going to the movies.
  • Où vas-tu ? > Where are you going?
  • Ça va bien. > It's going well.

'Aller' and the Near Future

Aller is used to construct the near future (le futur proche), which expresses the idea that someone is going to do something. It is formed by the conjugated aller followed by the infinitive of an action that's about to occur.

  • Je vais étudier. > I am going to study.
  • Vas-tu nous aider ? > Are you going to help us?
  • Nous allons partir dans cinq minutes. > We're going to leave in five minutes.
  • Je vais le faire. > I'm going to do it.
  • Je vais me fâcher. > I'm going to get angry.
  • Je vais écrire à mes cousins. > I'm going to write to my cousins.

Expressions with 'Aller'      

Aller has many uses, including an array of idiomatic expressions:

  • Je vais à pied. > I am going on foot.
  • Ça va de soi. / Ça va sans dire. > That goes without saying.
  • On y va ? > Shall we go?
  • aller à la chasse > to go hunting
  • aller à la pêche > to go fishing
  • aller voir quelqu'un > to go see someone
  • aller chercher quelqu'un > to go get someone
  • aller à quelqu'un > to suit someone / to fit someone
  • Cette couleur me va. / Cette robe te va bien. > This color suits me. / That dress fits you well. 
  • Cela me va. > That's OK by me. / That suits me.
  • aller avec quelque chose / bien aller avec quelque chose > to go with something / to go well with something
  • Comment allez-vous ? > How are you?
    Je vais bien." > "I'm fine.
  • Il va bien / mal. > He's fine. / He's not well.
  • aller mieux > to be better
  • Comment ça va ? > How are you? How are things?
  • Ça va ? > How are things?
    Oui ça va ! > Fine!
  • Ça va bien / mal > Things are going well. / Things aren't going well.
  • Tout va bien. / Everything's fine.
  • Allez ! (encouragement or impatience) / Go on! / Come on!
  • Allez ! Dépêche-toi ! / Come on, hurry up!
  • s'en aller > to go away
  • Allons-y ! > Let's go!
  • Vas-y ! > Go on!
  • Je dois y aller. > I've got to go (there).
  • y aller un peu fort (figurative) > to go a bit far or too far
  • Il y va de leur vie. > Their lives are at stake.
  • Aller jusqu'à > to go as far as
  • Nous sommes allés jusqu'à Londres. > We went as far as London.
  • J'irais jusqu'à dire qu'il est trop tard. (figurative) > I would go so far as to say that it's too late.
  • se laisser aller > to let (someone) go
  • Ça va comme ça. > That's fine. (impatient) / That's enough.

Conjugations

You will find the tenses of aller conjugated elsewhere; for now, here is the present tense to illustrate just how irregular this essential French verb is.

Present tense
je ​vais
tu vas
il va
nous allons
vous allez
ils vont