Posts Tagged ‘s’en aller’

“I’m gonna check [that] this evening.” A man said an equivalent of this in French. Can you guess how? Make an attempt before reading on.

Square Dorchester, à Montréal [février 2016]

Square Dorchester, à Montréal [février 2016]

Did your attempt sound like the following?

Je vais vérifier ça ce soir.

It’s correct, but it’s not what he said. Let’s look at how he did.

Maybe you know that, in conversational French, ce soir is often said instead as à soir.

Je vais vérifier ça à soir.

And maybe you know also know that vérifier is often said informally as checker.

Je vais checker ça à soir.

Maybe you know too that je vais is often said as j’vas in spoken French, where vas rhymes with pas.

J’vas checker ça à soir.

But did you know that je vais and j’vas might also be said as m’as in conversations? M’as rhymes with pas.

M’as checker ça à soir.

That’s exactly how the man said it.

M’as comes from s’en aller. In the same way that je vais can be conjugated colloquially as je vas (which contracts to j’vas), the first-person conjugation je m’en vais can be conjugated colloquially as je m’en vas (which contracts to j’m’en vas).

Je m’en vas
contracts to j’m’en vas, which
contracts to m’en vas, which
contracts to m’as.

M’as is an informal usage. You’re not required to use it yourself (nobody expects non-native speakers to use it), but do be sure to understand it.

You can stick with je vais when you need to use prescribed French (in French class, in writing, etc.), but you might want to give j’vas a try from time to time to give your French a colloquial feel — when speaking with francophone friends, for example.

You’ll know if and when you can use m’as when you reach a high level of mastery in French.

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An employee advised his co-worker that he was going on supper break by saying a French equivalent of “I’m going for supper.” Can you guess how he said it?

The employee used a first-person present tense conjugation of s’en aller (to go), followed by the verb souper (to eat supper, to have supper). In other words, to say to go for supper, he used the expression s’en aller souper.

One way s’en aller conjugates is as je m’en vais, giving us je m’en vais souper — but that’s not what he said. Another way it conjugates is as je m’en vas, where vas rhymes with pas. The conjugation je m’en vas is a colloquial form and contracts in spoken language to j’m’en vas, giving us j’m’en vas souper. This still isn’t quite what the employee said, though.

Here, finally, is what he said:

M’en vas souper.
I’m going for supper.

M’en vas is a reduction of the conjugation je m’en vas, where the pronoun je is no longer present.

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