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Aller conjugation: How to use the verb To Go in French

Celine Segueg

You may already know some forms of aller conjugation, since it’s one of the most commonly used irregular verbs in the French language. The basic translation of aller is to go, and it has a variety of uses.

In this post, we’ll touch on the various uses of aller in French and look at some examples for each one.

Then, we’ll explore the conjugation of aller in French, looking at all of its tenses. Since aller is an irregular verb in French, its present tense conjugation, as well as its stems for several other tenses, will need to be memorized.

Now, if you’re ready, allons-y – let’s go!

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Aller in French: Meanings

Generally speaking, the verb aller in French means to go. It’s used to talk about physical movement between different locations, as well as to give permission (“go ahead”).

  • Je vais à l’école. – I go to school.
  • Puis-je aller aux toilettes ? / Oui, vas-y. – May I go to the bathroom? / Yes, go ahead.

The verb aller can also be used to inquire about someone’s well-being using the idiomatic expression “Comment ça va ?” This informal expression uses the verb aller similarly to “How’s it going?,” though it’s often simply translated as an equivalent to “How are you?” in French.

  • Comment ça va ? / Ça va bien, merci. – How’s it going? / It’s going alright, thanks.

Another common use of aller in French is in the expression allons-y, which means let’s go in French. In addition, we use aller in a number of similar expressions which would also use go in English. For a detailed rundown, we have a whole post on fun expressions for saying Let’s Go! in French.

  • On y va ? / Oui, allons-y ! – Shall we get going? / Yes, let’s go!

Finally, aller can be used to talk about actions in the near future in French using a construction called le futur proche. This is the equivalent to going to in French, which is built with a présent indicatif aller conjugation followed by an infinitive. We explain le futur proche in full detail in our easy guide to “going to” in French.

  • Mes parents vont récupérer la voiture à 19:00. – My parents are going to pick up the car at 7pm.

French Aller conjugation

Because aller is an irregular verb in French, many of its forms and stems will need to be memorized. In this section on aller conjugation, we’ll start with the most common tenses you’ll need. Later, we’ll wrap up with the conjugation of aller in the remaining tenses.

For a comprehensive overview of how to conjugate verbs in French, we’ll refer you to our detailed guide on French conjugation.

Aller conjugation: Présent de l’indicatif

One of the most useful tenses of aller in French is the présent de l’indicatif, the indicative present.

Aller présent de l’indicatif To go present indicative
Je vais I go
Tu vas You go
Il, Elle, On va He, She goes
Nous allons We go
Vous allez You go
Ils, Elles vont They go

Aller conjugation: Imparfait

Aller, conjugated in the French simple past tense l’imparfait, follows the regular conjugation pattern of French -er verbs. For a detailed explanation of l’imparfait, check out our post on the formation and use of the French imparfait tense.

In English, aller conjugated in the imparfait is translated as went or was going.

Aller imparfait
J’allais
Tu allais
Il, Elle, On allait
Nous allions
Vous alliez
Ils, Elles allaient

Aller conjugation: Passé composé

The passé composé is a major past tense that is frequently used in French. We recommend our post about the passé composé to see how to form it and when to use it.

The passé composé is composed of an auxiliary verb and the past participle. The auxiliary verb for aller is always être, while its past participle is allé.

Because the auxiliary verb is être, the past participle will need to agree in gender and number with the subject. We include these variations in parentheses here.

In English, aller conjugated in the passé composé is translated as went.

Aller passé composé
Je suis allé(e)
Tu es allé(e)
Il, Elle, On est allé(e)
Nous sommes allé(e)s
Vous êtes allé(e)(s)
Ils, Elles sont allé(e)s

Aller conjugation: Futur simple

The future tense, or le futur simple, is another common tense for aller in French. Check out our full post about the French future tense for details on its usages and regular conjugation forms.

The stem for aller in le futur simple is irregular: ir-, while its endings follow the regular conjugation pattern.

Aller conjugated in le futur simple means will go.

Aller futur simple
J’irai
Tu irais
Il, Elle, On ira
Nous irons
Vous irez
Ils, Elles iront

Aller conjugation: Conditionnel présent

To express a hypothetical action or make a polite request, we can conjugate aller in the present conditional tense, le conditionnel présent.

In this tense, aller uses the same irregular stem as the futur simple, ir-, and takes the regular conditionnel présent endings.

In English, aller conjugated in the conditionnel présent is usually translated as would go.

Aller conditionnel présent
J’irais
Tu irais
Il, Elle, On irait
Nous irions
Vous iriez
Ils, Elles iraient

Aller conjugation: Conditionnel passé

To talk about hypothetical actions that would have occurred in the past, we use the past conditional, le conditionnel passé.

For conjugations of aller in the conditionnel passé, we generally translate them into English with would have gone.

In this compound tense, the same conjugation rules as the passé composé apply: we use être as the auxiliary verb and make agreement between the subject and the past participle.

Aller conditionnel passé
Je serais allé(e)
Tu serais allé(e)
Il, Elle, On serait allé(e)
Nous serions allé(e)s
Vous seriez allé(e)(s)
Ils, Elles seraient allé(e)s

Aller conjugation: Subjonctif présent

The last commonly-used tense that we’ll cover individually is the present subjunctive, le subjonctif présent. Head over to our post on subjunctive conjugation for a complete explanation of this tense.

Aller follows the regular pattern in the nous and vous conjugations of this tense, while for the other subjects the irregular stem is aill.

Aller subjonctif présent
que j’aille
que tu ailles
qu’il, elle, on aille
que nous allions
que vous alliez
qu’ils, elles aillent

Aller conjugation: Additional conjugation tables

So far, we’ve covered the tenses you’re most likely to need when using the verb aller. To round out this post, we’ll review the remaining tenses in the tables below. For explanations of these tenses, head over to our master post on all the French verb tenses.

The aller present participle is allant.

The past participle is allé (and its variants allée, allés, and allées).

The perfect participle is étant allé(e)(s).

The infinitif passé is être allé(e)(s).

Now let’s see the aller conjugation tables for the remaining tenses.

Subject Impératif présent Impératif passé
Tu va sois allé(e)
Nous allons soyons allé(e)s
Vous allez soyez allé(e)(s)

 

Subject Plus-que-parfait Futur antérieur
J’ étais allé(e) serai allé(e)
Tu étais allé(e) seras allé(e)
Il, Elle, On était allé(e) sera allé(e)
Nous étions allé(e)s serions allé(e)s
Vous étiez allé(e)(s) seriez allé(e)(s)
Ils, Elles étaient allé(e)s seraient allé(e)s

 

Subject Passé simple Passé antérieur
J’ allai fus allé(e)
Tu allas fus allé(e)
Il, Elle, On alla fut allé(e)
Nous allâmes fûmes allé(e)s
Vous allâtes fûtes allé(e)(s)
Ils, Elles allèrent furent allé(e)s

 

Subject Subjonctif passé Subjonctif imparfait Subjonctif plus-que-parfait
Je sois allé(e) allasse fusse allé(e)
Tu sois allé(e) allasses fusses allé(e)
Il, Elle, On soit allé(e) allât fût allé(e)
Nous soyons allé(e)s allassions fussions allé(e)s
Vous soyez allé(e)(s) allassiez fussiez allé(e)(s)
Ils, Elles soient allé(e)s allassent fussent allé(e)s

Conclusion

It’s time to wrap up this post on the uses and conjugation of aller in French!

First we saw that aller is a very important French verb, with an assortment of applications and expressions. The most common use of aller is to express the idea of going, whether with physical movement or future intention. It can also be used to describe one’s well-being and to give permission.

We then explored all of the different tenses of French aller conjugation. We saw how it uses various stems in the simple tenses, and how it combines with the auxiliary verb être to form the compound tenses.

As we’ve seen, understanding how to use aller is essential for anyone learning French. Ça va sans dire – it goes without saying!

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