Aller is a common but irregular French verb. We will look at its use in some of the different tenses here.

Present tense

Je vais – I go, I am going
Tu vas – You go, you are going (sing.fam.)
Il va – He/It goes, he/it is going
Elle va – She/It goes, she/it is going
Nous allons – We go, we are going
Vous allez – You go, you are going (pl.pol.)
Ils vont – They (m.) go, they are going
Elles vont – They (f.) go, they are going

Near future tense
Just as in English, we can express the idea ‘I am going to do (something) with the present tense of aller plus the infinitive (to …..) of a second verb.

Je vais sortir. – I am going to go out.
Tu vas venir avec moi. – You are going to come with me.
Elle va acheter une voiture. – She is going to buy a car.
Nous allons faire les courses. – We’re going to do the shopping.
Vous allez travailler beaucoup? – Are you going to work a lot?
Ils vont vendre leur maison. – They’re going to sell their house.

Aller is used to ask people how they are.
Comment ça va? – How’s it going? This can be shortened to Ca va?
Comment allez-vous?/Comment vas-tu? – How are you?
Ca va bien. – I’m fine.
Je vais bien, merci. Et vous? – I’m fine thank you. And you?

Past tense (passé composé)
Aller is one of the verbs that forms the past tense with être. Remember that for feminine forms we add ‘e’ to the end of the past participle allé, and for plural forms we add ‘s’.

Je suis allé au cinema hier soir. – I went to the cinema last night.
Tu es allé le rencontrer à l’aéroport? – Did you go to meet him at the airport?
Elle est allée se faire couper les cheveux. – She went to have her hair cut.
Nous sommes allés chez nos cousins à Noël. – We went to our cousins’ house at Christmas.
Vous êtes allés visiter vos grandparents? – Did you go to visit your grandparents?
Ils sont allés en ville. – They have gone to town.

Future tense
The future tense is irregular in the stem:

J’irai voir le médecin. – I will go to see the doctor.
Tu iras avec eux? – Will you go with them?
Il ira en voiture. – He will go by car.
Nous irons au cinéma. – We will go to the cinema.
Vous irez avec lui la prochaine fois. – You will go with him next time.
Elles iront à la piscine en été. – They (f.) will go to the swimming pool in summer.

The reflexive verb ‘s’en aller‘ means to go away:

Je m’en vais. – I am going away.

Allez-vous-en! Go away!

That’s not a very polite note to finish on, but there we go!

With thanks to Elizabeth Allen

Read more on irregular French verbs and learning French

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