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February 17, 2021

French Verb ALLER TW

ALLER is one of the three most commonly used French verbs. Its meaning is simple - to go - but its value is that you can use it in the present tense to create a sense of something you are going to do in the future, so it’s invaluable to you. It is far more irregular as a verb in French than in English but it’s well worth the effort to learn it carefully, especially the present tense forms.

In this article, you’re going to learn about some of the more common uses of ALLER, and there is a short quiz at the end to help you remember some of the key parts and uses of the verb. 

Uses of ALLER 

ALLER is a highly irregular verb, so it doesn’t follow a particular pattern when you conjugate it.  It doesn’t even always start with an ‘A’ so you might not recognise some of the different tense forms of the verb straightaway. It is one of only a few verbs with a future tense stem that does not come from its infinitive form

ALLER is used in three different ways.

  1. 1
    In its most simple sense, it means ‘to go’ and it’s the most commonly used verb of motion in French. It is used in many phrases that relate to your social or routine activities, such as: Je vais au bureau (I go to the office) and Nous allons au cinéma (We’re going to the cinema).
  2. 2
    It is used to make statements or to ask questions about the status or condition of things. Example: Comment vas-tu? (How are you?), and Il va bien (He’s fine).
  3. 3
    And it is an important auxiliary verb to create the compound future tense (a more simple form of the future tense with the meaning ‘going to’ rather than ‘will’. Example: Il va faire chaud demain (It’s going to be warm tomorrow).

Click on this link to see some of the more common uses of Aller.

Conjugation of ALLER

As you now know, this is an irregular verb and some of its forms seem a little complicated. Keep repeating the verb and listening to the audio, and you’ll learn it in no time though. 

Let’s review the conjugation of ALLER in the indicative mood.

How to conjugate ALLER in the present tense (Présent)

In English, there are two present tenses - the Present Simple and the Present Continuous. In French, there’s only one tense - Le Présent. French is easy, right? 

In the present tense table below, you can see the two different meanings in English.

Je vaisI go, I am going
Tu vasYou go, you are going
Il / elle vaHe / she goes, he / she is going
Nous allonsWe go, we are going
Vous allezYou go, you are going
Ils / elles vontThey go, they are going

How to conjugate ALLER in the Imparfait 

The imperfect is used to create a sense of something that continued happening in the past. In English we would say ‘I was doing something’ or that ‘I used to do it’.

J’allaisI was going
Tu allaisYou were going
Il / elle allaitHe / she was going
Nous allionsWe were going
Vous alliezYou were going
Ils / elles allaientThey were going

How to conjugate ALLER in the Futur

There are two things to remember here:

  1. 1
    This is one of only a few verbs with a future tense stem that does not come from its infinitive form.
  2. 2
    The Simple Future (which we’re not covering specifically) uses ALLER in the present tense along with the infinitive of the verb which is telling us the action being carried out to convey a meaning of ‘going to…’. Example: Je vais travailler ce soir (I’m going to work this evening).
J’iraiI will go
Tu irasYou will go
Il / elle iraHe / she will go
Nous ironsWe will go
Vous irezYou will go
Ils / elles irontThey will go

How to conjugate ALLER in the Passé Composé

ALLER is one of only a few verbs to be conjugated with Être in the compound past tenses. This makes it slightly more difficult to learn and use but there is still a pattern to it. Most of the time you can’t hear the different endings of the past participle but the differences are important in writing nonetheless.

Je suis allé(e) I went
Tu es allé(e)You went
Il est alléHe went
Elle est alléeShe went
Nous sommes allé(e)sWe went
Vous êtes allé(e)(s)You went
Ils sont allésThey went
Elles sont alléesThey went

You may have worked out that the additional ‘e’ tells us the subject is feminine, and the ‘s’ tells us the subject is plural.

How to conjugate ALLER in the Passé Simple

J’allaiI went
Tu allasYou went
Il / elle allaHe / she went
Nous allâmesWe went
Vous avez allâtesYou went
Ils / elles allèrentThey went

How to conjugate ALLER in the Plus-que-Parfait 

J’étais allé(e)I had gone
Tu étais allé(e)You had gone
Il était alléHe had gone
Elle était alléeShe had gone
Nous étions allé(e)sWe had gone
Vous étiez allé(e)(s)You had gone
Ils étaient allésThey had gone
Elles étaient alléesThey had gone

How to conjugate ALLER in the Passé Antérieur

Je fus allé(e)I had gone
Tu fus allé(e)You had gone
Il fut alléHe had gone
Elle fut alléeShe had gone
Nous fûmes allé(e)sWe had gone
Vous fûtes allé(e)(s)You had gone
Ils furent allésThey had gone
Elles furent alléesThey had gone

How to conjugate ALLER in the Futur Antérieur

Je serai allé(e)I will have gone
Tu seras allé(e)You will have gone
Il sera alléHe will have gone
Elle sera alléeShe will have gone
Nous serons allé(e)sWe will have gone
Vous serez allé(e)(s)You will have gone
Ils seront allésThey will have gone
Elles seront alléesThey will have gone

How to conjugate ALLER in the Subjunctive mood (Subjonctif) 

How to conjugate aller in Present Subjunctive (Subjonctif Présent)

que j’aillethat I go
que tu aillesthat you go
qu’il / elle aillethat he / she goes
que nous allionsthat we go
que vous alliezthat you go
qu’ils / elles aillentthat they go

How to conjugate aller in Imperfect Subjunctive (Subjonctif Imparfait)

que j’allassethat I was going
que tu allassesthat you were going
qu’il / elle allâtthat he / she was going
que nous allassionsthat we were going
que vous allassiezthat you were going
qu’ils / elles allassentthat they were going

How to conjugate aller in Past Subjunctive (Subjonctif Passé)

que je sois allé(e)that I went
que tu sois allé(e)that you went
qu’il soit alléthat he went
qu’ elle soit alléethat she went
que nous soyons allé(e)sthat we went
que vous soyez allé(e)(s)that you went
qu’ils soient allésthat they went
qu’elles soient alléesthat they went

How to conjugate Aller in Past Perfect Subjunctive (Plus-que-Parfait) 

que je fusse allé(e)that I had gone
que tu fusses allé(e)that you had gone
qu’il fût alléthat he had gone
qu’elle fût alléethat she had gone
que nous fussions allé(e)sthat we had gone
que vous fussiez allé(e)(s)that you had gone
qu’ils fussent allésthat they had gone
qu’elles fussent alléesthat they had gone

How to conjugate ALLER in the Conditional Mood (Conditionnel) 

How to conjugate aller in the Present Conditional (Conditionnel Présent)

J’iraisI would go
Tu iraisYou would go
Il / elle iraitHe / she would go
Nous irionsWe would go
Vous iriezYou would go
Ils / elles iraientThey would go

How to conjugate aller in the Past Conditional (Conditionnel Passé)

Je serais allé(e)I would have gone
Tu serais allé(e)You would have gone
Il serait alléHe would have gone
Elle serait alléeShe would have gone
Nous serions allé(e)sWe would have gone
Vous seriez allé(e)(s)You would have gone
Ils seraient allésThey would have gone
Elles seraient alléesThey would have gone

How to conjugate aller in Participe

Présentallant
Passéallé(e)(s)
Passé Composéetant allé(e)(s)

How to conjugate ALLER in the Imperative Mood (Impératif)

Présent(tu) vas
(nous) allons
(vous) allez
Passé(tu) sois allé(e)
(nous) soyons allé(e)s
(vous) soyez allé(e)(s)

How to conjugate ALLER in the Infinitive Mood (Infinitif)

Présentaller
Passéêtre aller

Quick Exercise - fill in the blanks

1. Je _____ chez le dentiste.

Click to reveal the correct answer:

ANSWER:      Je vais chez le dentiste.

2. Nous _____ à la plage chaque weekend.

Click to reveal the correct answer:

ANSWER:      Nous allons à la plage chaque weekend

3. Comment _______ - vous?

Click to reveal the correct answer:

ANSWER:   Comment allez-vous?

4. Le vin blanc ______ bien avec le poulet..

Click to reveal the correct answer:

ANSWER:    Le vin blanc va bien avec le poulet.

5. S’il fait beau, j’______ en ville demain.

Click to reveal the correct answer:

ANSWER:    S’il fait beau, j’irai en ville demain.

6. Il faut que j’______ à la messe dimanche matin.

Click to reveal the correct answer:

ANSWER:     Il faut que j’aille à la messe dimanche matin.

7. _______ plus lentement, les enfants.

Click to reveal the correct answer:

ANSWER:      Allez plus lentement, les enfants

8. Ils sont _____ à l’étranger l’an dernier.

Click to reveal the correct answer:

ANSWER:  Ils sont _____ à l’étranger l’an dernier.

Conclusion

As one of the top three most commonly used verbs in French, you really do need to learn ALLER thoroughly. It will reap huge rewards when you do. And even though this is one of the most irregular verb forms, it is true that the more verbs you learn, the more you’ll see patterns that help you easily memorize even highly irregular verbs like ALLER.

If you thought learning verbs meant learning by rote and chanting your way through them, you’re mistaken. You can easily and naturally get them set in your memory if you use the audio drills every day.

About the author 

Ginny Jackson

A self-confessed English francophile, Ginny loves immersing herself in French language and culture. Most of her working life has been spent teaching French to British pupils aged 2 to 18, as well as English as a foreign language to both school children and adults, in England and in France. Her teaching goal is to make learning fun and to find ways to enable learners to recall things easily, whether that's by identifying patterns, by making links with prior learning, or through mime and song. She spends as much of her free time as she can learning different languages---being able to communicate in a foreign language gives you such a buzz, it's well worth making the effort!

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