Languages › French How to Use the French Expression Ça Va in Conversation Share Flipboard Email Print ThoughtCo / Joshua Seong French Vocabulary Pronunciation & Conversation Grammar Resources For Teachers By Staff Author Updated August 13, 2019 The expression ça va (pronounced "sah vah") is one of the most common phrases in French. Improve your skills by learning the correct way to use the phrase ça va in a sentence or dialogue. Meaning of Ça Va Literally translated, ça va means "it goes." Used in casual conversation, it can be both a question and a reply, but it's an informal expression. You probably wouldn't want to ask your boss or a stranger this question unless the setting was casual. But if you're speaking with people whom you know, such as family and friends, ça va is perfectly acceptable. Asking a Question One of the most common uses of ça va is as a greeting or to ask how someone is doing. For example: Salut, Guy, ça va? / Hi, Guy, how's it going? Comment ça va? / How's it going? The expression can also be used with a subject or object. Note that the phrase doesn't vary. No change is necessary for a plural subject: Ça va les filles? / How's it going, girls? Ça va le nouvel ordi? / How's the new computer working? You can also use the phrase to ask whether something just discussed is acceptable: On va partir vers midi, ça va? / We'll leave around noon, is that OK? Does that work for you? Using Ça Va in Conversation You can answer any of the previous examples as well as any similar questions with ça va in conversations. The dialogue below provides an example of how to use the phrase when talking informally with a friend or acquaintance. The sentences are listed in French on the left followed by the English translation. Ça va, Marc? / How's it going, Marc? Oui, ça va. / Fine. Tu vas bien, André? / Are you OK, André? Ça va. / Yes, I'm OK. Il faut être prêt dans une heure, ça va ? / You have to be ready in an hour, OK? Ça va. / OK. The expression ça va can also be an exclamation: Oh! Ça va! / Hey, that's enough! Other Uses Ça va plus an infinitive can mean simply "it will." This construction can be useful when you're speaking about something that will occur, but you don't know precisely when. For instance: Ça va venir / It'll happen, it will come. Ça va plus an indirect object pronoun means, "That looks good on ___," or "It suits ___." For instance, a pair of friends shopping for clothes might have this exchange: Ça te va (bien) / That suits you. Ça lui va bien / That looks good on him/her. Variations of Ça Va The table below provides a few other ways to use ça va. The first column gives the sentence with ça va in French, while the second column provides the English translation. French English Translation Ça va aller? Will it be OK? Will that work? Ça va aller It will be OK. Ça va bien? Is it going well? Are you doing well? Ça va bien It's going well. I'm doing well. Ça va mal It's going badly. I'm not doing so well. Ç a (ne) va pas It's not going well. It's not OK. Practice using ça va with another student working to learn the language and you'll soon be using this important French phrase like a native speaker. Cite this Article Format mla apa chicago Your Citation Author, Staff. "How to Use the French Expression Ça Va in Conversation." ThoughtCo, May. 12, 2021, thoughtco.com/ca-va-vocabulary-1371141. Author, Staff. (2021, May 12). How to Use the French Expression Ça Va in Conversation. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/ca-va-vocabulary-1371141 Author, Staff. "How to Use the French Expression Ça Va in Conversation." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/ca-va-vocabulary-1371141 (accessed June 19, 2021). copy citation How to Use the French Expression "Pas de Problème" Learn Some Practical French Phrases for Use in Everyday Life How to Ask 'How Are You' in French Understanding the French Expression "Pas Mal" Ça va: Informal "How Are You" in French How to Use the French Expression "Ça Marche" French Expressions: Ça ne fait rien The Meaning of "Ça" in French How to Use the French Expression 'N'est-ce Pas' in Conversation How to Use the French Expression "Allons-y" Learn How to Use "Un Mec" in French How to Use "Est-ce Que" to Ask Questions in French How to Conjugate the French Verb Voir How To Say You 'Don't Mind' in French How to Use the French Expression N'Importe Quoi How to Use the Casual French Term 'Sympa'