Using the Very Common French Expression 'Allons-y' ('Let's Go')

'Allons-y' is one of the most common, and simplest, French expressions

'Allons-y' ('Let's go'), she beckons.
'Allons-y' ('Let's go'), she beckons. Image Source/Getty Images

Allons-y, pronounced ah lo(n) zee, means literally "Let us go there." But remember, this is an idiomatic expression, so the everyday meaning of this very common phrase, one of the most common in the French language, is "Let's go." There are many, many variations, depending on the context, such as "let's get going," "off we go," "let's get started," "here we go," and more. 

The French expression allons-y is essentially the first person plural (nous) form of the imperative of aller ("to go"), followed by the adverbial pronoun y.

Theme and Variations

Allons-y means "let's go" both to announce that it's time to leave and to indicate the beginning of some activity. Rough synonyms of allons-y would be On y va ! ("Let's go") and C'est parti ("Here we go").

An informal variation is Allons-y, Alonso. The name Alonso doesn't refer to an actual person; it's just tacked on for fun because it's alliterative (the first two syllables are the same as those of Allons-y). So it's a bit like saying, "Let's go, Daddy-o."

If you were to put this in the third person plural, you'd get the similarly well-known French expression Allez-y ! The idiomatic meaning of allez-y in colloquial French is something like "Go on!" or "Off you go!" 

Examples of 'Allons-y' Usage 

  • Il est tard, allons-y. > It's getting late; let's go.
  • Il y a un nouveau resto à côté du cinéma, allons-y. > There's a new restaurant next to the movie theater. Let's go (eat there).
  • Tu veux apprendre le japonais ? Moi aussi, allons-y ! > You want to learn Japanese? Me too. Let's go / Let's do it!
  • Vous êtes prêts ? Allons-y ! > Are you ready? Let's go!
  • Allons-y maintenant ! > Let's go now.
  • OK, allons-y. > Okay, let's go.
  • Allons-y, ne nous gênons pas ! (ironic usage) > Don't mind me !
  • Allons bon, j'ai perdu ma clef maintenant ! > Oh no, now I've lost my key !
  • Allons bon, voilà qu'il recommence à pleurer ! > Here we go; he's crying again !
  • Eh bien, allons-y et voyons s'il disait la vérité. > Well, let's go and see if he was telling the truth.
  • Alors, allons-y. Où mettez-vous les mains ? > Go on then. Do you put your hands like this?
  • Enfin, puisque vous insistez, allons-y. > Oh, well, if you insist. Come on.
  • Je suis partante, allons-y, ici, tout de suite. > I'm ready. Let's do it. Right here, now.
  • A quoi cela ressemblerait-il ? Alors allons-y. > What would it look like? Let's begin.
  • Sinon, remontons nos manches et allons-y. > Otherwise, let's roll up our sleeves and get on with it.

Additional Resources

Expressions with aller
Most common French phrases

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Lawless, Laura K. "Using the Very Common French Expression 'Allons-y' ('Let's Go')." ThoughtCo, Aug. 11, 2017, Lawless, Laura K. (2017, August 11). Using the Very Common French Expression 'Allons-y' ('Let's Go'). Retrieved from Lawless, Laura K. "Using the Very Common French Expression 'Allons-y' ('Let's Go')." ThoughtCo. (accessed January 20, 2018).