How to Use the French Expression "Allons-y"

'Allons-y' ('Let's go'), she beckons.
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The French phrase allons-y (pronounced "ah-lo(n)-zee") is one you may find yourself using if you're traveling with friends or about to begin something. Literally translated, it means "Let us go there," but this idiomatic expression is usually understood to mean "Let's go." There are many variations of this common phrase, depending on the context, such as "let's get going," "off we go," "let's get started," "here we go," and more.

French speakers use it to announce that it's time to leave or to indicate the beginning of some activity. 

Usage and Examples 

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. Rough synonyms include 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!" Here are some other examples of how you might use this phrase in conversation:

  • 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