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Expressing how you are with aller (greetings)

Look at these sentences with aller:

Comment va Paul? - Il ne va pas très bien ces jours-ci.
How is Paul? - He's not feeling very well these days.

Comment ça va? - Ça va bien, et toi?
How are you / How do you feel? - I'm fine/I feel fine, and you?

Je vais mal
I feel bad

Comment vont tes enfants? - Ils vont mieux, merci
How are your children? - They feel better, thank you

In French, you can use the verb aller (to go) to make general statements about how you feel/are. 

You can use it to express to feel/be fine, bad, better.

ATTENTION:

When you want to express specific statements with adjectives I am sick/ tired/happy - you cannot use aller.
You'll use être (to be) instead:

Comment vas-tu, Bertrand ? - Je suis malade aujourd'hui.
How are you, Bertrand? - I'm sick today.


Comment ça va Samantha ? - Je suis fatiguée.
How are you Samantha? - I'm tired.

See also Using 'sentir bon' and 'se sentir bien'

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Comment vont tes enfants? - Ils vont mieux, merci
How are your children? - They feel better, thank you


Comment va Paul? - Il ne va pas très bien ces jours-ci.
How is Paul? - He's not feeling very well these days.


Comment ça va? - Ça va bien, et toi?
How are you / How do you feel? - I'm fine/I feel fine, and you?


Je vais mal
I feel bad


examples with être


Comment vas-tu, Bertrand ? - Je suis malade aujourd'hui.
How are you, Bertrand? - I'm sick today.


Comment ça va Samantha ? - Je suis fatiguée.
How are you Samantha? - I'm tired.


Q&A

Rant

Kwiziq community member

5 May 2018

2 replies

Specific question

The lesson says that when talking about specifics, you use être, but the kwiz said this should be aller:

Martine était malade, mais elle ________ mieux à présent.

She is feeling better at present sounds like it is specific, so why is 'est' not right here?

Rant

Kwiziq community member

5 May 2018

5/05/18

I think maybe I get it. "I feel better" is general, but "I AM tired" is specific.


So its more about the fact that feelings are general, but you are something specific.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

5 May 2018

5/05/18

Bonjour Rant !


C'est exactement ça !


But I agree it can be made clearer in the lesson, and so I did just that :)


I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

D

Kwiziq community member

6 April 2018

2 replies

Why can you use inversion with nouns in this expression?

According to the lesson 'Forming inverted questions with names, things and emphasis', you can't use inversion with nouns (for example, 'Vient Sophie?'); you need to add a pronoun ('Sophie vient-elle?'). But here in the examples we see 'Comment vont tes enfants?' and 'Comment va Paul?'. Why isn't it 'Comment tes enfants vont?' or 'Comment tes enfants vont-ils?' Is this a peculiarity of this particular expression, or are there other cases where inversion can be used with nouns with no pronoun?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

10 April 2018

10/04/18

Hi D,


"Comment vont tes enfants?" and "Tes enfants comment vont-ils?" are both correct.


The reason you cannot say, e.g., "Vont tes enfants?" is because there is no interrogative pronoun as, e.g., comment, quand, etc.


-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

17 April 2018

17/04/18

Hi D,


To add to what Chris said and to use the example in the lesson 'Sophie vient' the three possible ways to ask if Sophie is coming would be :


Est-ce que Sophie vient?      (using est-ce que)


Sophie vient-elle?        (Inversion)


Sophie vient?   (Intonation rising at the end making it a question)


It is the same with all verbs,


e.g.   Les voitures coûtent cher.


Est-ce que les voitures coûtent cher?


Les voitures coûtent-elles cher?  (Inversion)


Les voitures coûtent cher?


Hope this helps!


 

Paul

Kwiziq community member

24 October 2017

3 replies

Ça va?

Is there a lesson about "Ça va?" as a greeting? What are the correct responses to "Ca va?" Should I respond with "Ça va?" or something else?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

24 October 2017

24/10/17

Bonsoir Paul,
There are several possible responses:
ça va .
ça va bien.
Il ne va pas très bien ces jours-ci
Ça va bien, et toi?
Je vais mal
Je suis malade aujourd'hui.
Je suis fatigué.
Tous va bien. (my favorite)
Tous ne va pas bien.


Chris

Kwiziq community member

24 October 2017

24/10/17

A short comment: it ought to be "tout va bien" and "tout ne va pas bien" unless you want to say "tous vont bien" -- "all are doing fine".

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Ron

Kwiziq community member

24 October 2017

24/10/17

Merci

jane

Kwiziq community member

22 September 2016

1 reply

Martine était malade -- aussi Martine est allé mal, or Elle est allé bien?

So does one use aller bien/ mal in the past, or only the present tense?

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

22 September 2016

22/09/16

Bonjour Jane,

Yes, you can use aller in the past, but it needs to be in the imperfect, like être is. So Elle allait mal / bien.

Doraida

Kwiziq community member

2 August 2016

1 reply

how to pronounce "Je vais" because I have heard two forms

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

3 August 2016

3/08/16

Bonjour Doraida,

There are in fact two ways to pronounce it: [vay] and [veh]

Kiattiyos

Kwiziq community member

14 July 2016

3 replies

Can I use "Il sent mal."?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

14 July 2016

14/07/16

Bonjour Kiattiyos !


"Il sent mal" could only be used in a very specific context to mean "He smells wrong", i.e. that person has a problem with their sense of smell.


To say "He smells bad" (i.e. he stinks), you would use "Il sent mauvais", and to say "He feels bad", it would be "Il se sent mal".
Have a look at the related lesson: https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/how-to-use-sentir-bon-versus-se-sentir-bien


I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

Barbara

Kwiziq community member

4 February 2017

4/02/17

Will I ever learn all this?

Rod

Kwiziq community member

19 April 2017

19/04/17

Don't give up. I suck too. But i'm not giving up

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