S'en aller = To leave

The expression s'en aller can be a little hard to get your head around, but it just means to leave or go away.

s'en aller  in the Present tense (Le Présent)

Je m'en vais.
I'm leaving.

Tu t'en vas déjà?
You're leaving already?

Ils s'en vont.
They're leaving.

s'en aller  as an imperative (L'Impératif)

You can use it to tell people to go away:

Va-t'en !
Go away / leave!

Allez-vous en !
Go away! (plural or formal)

If you want to understand the structure (you don't have to but it's interesting), the en part is actually a replacement (pronoun) for an unspoken d'ici or de [place] so it means from here or from [place].

So,

Va-t'en !
Go away / leave!

is structurally similar to get yourself out of here.

s'en aller  in the conversational past tense (Le Passé Composé)

Since it's reflexive, it can get complicated in the Passé Composé.

Nous nous sommes en allés.
We left.

Il s'en est allé.  
Il s'est en allé.

He left.

Note that in these cases, the en will be before or after être: formally, it should be before, but in practice, it often ends up after.

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Vive le vent d'hiver, 
Qui s'en va sifflant, soufflant,  
Dans les grands sapins verts, oh !

Long live the winter wind, 
that goes whistling, blowing, 
through the big green pine trees, oh!


Va-t'en !
Go away / leave!


Il s'en est allé.  
Il s'est en allé.

He left.


Allez-vous en !
Go away! (plural or formal)


Je m'en vais.
I'm leaving.


Nous nous sommes en allés.
We left.


Ils s'en vont.
They're leaving.


Tu t'en vas déjà?
You're leaving already?


Q&A Forum 10 questions, 19 answers

formally vs. in practice?

Could someone please expand a bit on the part that says “formally, it should be before, but in practice, it often ends up after”? 

If, for example, we were to write it after in an exam script, would this be marked down and regarded as an inaccuracy?

Thanks in advance!

Asked 2 months ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

Il s'en est allé is the grammatically correct version. Il s'est en allé is conversational French and would likely be marked incorrect in an exam. I'd use the proper version, just to be on the safe side.

formally vs. in practice?

Could someone please expand a bit on the part that says “formally, it should be before, but in practice, it often ends up after”? 

If, for example, we were to write it after in an exam script, would this be marked down and regarded as an inaccuracy?

Thanks in advance!

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Why va-t'en and not vas-t'en ?

Isn't the tu-form of aller "vas"?

Asked 5 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Sagar, 

I love the verb ‘s’en aller’ as do most French people and it is commonly used in every day speech for ‘to leave’.

It is however, tricky to use as in your question, in the imperative mood:

It is indeed - 

Va t’en ! (no s)

Allez vous-en! 

Allons nous-en! 

It kind of follows the rule that verbs ending in -er lose the "s" in the second person singular imperative. Just that the verb form looks different.

But it doesn't follow the rule that verbs ending in -er recover the "s" in the tu form imperative before "en".

Maybe this exception should be added here:

Using "en" with affirmative commands (L'Impératif)

On second thoughts, forget that. It's different because the "t" comes between "va" and "en", and it's not just a phonetic "t". (Pity I can't delete that other reply.)

Ah, je vous comprends maintenant.

Merci !

Why va-t'en and not vas-t'en ?

Isn't the tu-form of aller "vas"?

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Why is “Elle s’en est allé” marked as wrong? Does it have to agree in gender as well as number?

Asked 10 months ago
OK, found the answer!

Why is “Elle s’en est allé” marked as wrong? Does it have to agree in gender as well as number?

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Pronunciation question

In listening to:

Il s'en est allé.  
Il s'est en allé

the T in est allé is spoken "eh-tallé'

but in s'est en allé it wasn't said.

Pourquoi?

Merci.

Asked 11 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Carole, 

You could make the liaison in the second sentence between the s'est and the en  ( sounds like sétan) but it's probably one liaison too far as you have to make the following one between en and allé ( nallé).

Liaisons if not compulsory are often instinctive and optional and will often depends on many cultural factors and habits.

Hope this helps!

Pronunciation question

In listening to:

Il s'en est allé.  
Il s'est en allé

the T in est allé is spoken "eh-tallé'

but in s'est en allé it wasn't said.

Pourquoi?

Merci.

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S'en aller

Peut-le subjonctif être employé avec <s'en aller>.  Il est necessaire qu'elle s'en aille...  Il faut que nous nous en allions immediatement.  Peut-être j'ai tort.  Merci d'avance,  Don
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Donald,

 

Non, vous n'avez pas tort, la réponse est oui après les expressions qui prennent le subjonctif comme il faut:

 Il faut que je m'en aille..

 

 

Oui, je l'ai entendu dit.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

S'en aller

Peut-le subjonctif être employé avec <s'en aller>.  Il est necessaire qu'elle s'en aille...  Il faut que nous nous en allions immediatement.  Peut-être j'ai tort.  Merci d'avance,  Don

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Left for holidays - can you say "ils se sont en allés pour leurs vacances"

Asked 1 year ago
AurélieKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Bonjour Dragana !

You could indeed say Je m'en vais pour les vacances. = I'm going away for the holidays.

I'd say it's less colloquially used in the past tense in this context, we'll tend to use partir instead:
Je suis parti pour les vacances.
Ils sont partis pour les vacances.

Bonne journée !

Hi Dragana, this is a question which is best answered by a native speaker.

Personally, I find it sounds OK.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Left for holidays - can you say "ils se sont en allés pour leurs vacances"

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Hi there

Asked 1 year ago
Hi, Alison! -- Chris.
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Alison !

Hi there

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TamaniA2

On a childhood record album, I learned

Ainsi font, font, font les petites marionettes. Ainsi font, font, font trois petits tours et puis s'en vont! (Although I had incorrectly remembered it as 'et puis s'en va'.)Now I know better! Merci!
Asked 1 year ago
RonC1
Bonjour Tamani, Je ne connais pas cette chanson. Quel est le titre?
TamaniA2
Le titre est "Les petites marionettes." Bonne journée!
RonC1
Bonsoir Tamani, Merci et bonne chance pour vos études dans la langage française.
Tamani asked:View original

On a childhood record album, I learned

Ainsi font, font, font les petites marionettes. Ainsi font, font, font trois petits tours et puis s'en vont! (Although I had incorrectly remembered it as 'et puis s'en va'.)Now I know better! Merci!

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SueC1

would nous nous en sommes allés be marked wrong?

Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Sue ! No, it would be correct as well. Bonne journée !

would nous nous en sommes allés be marked wrong?

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Why does the second person (tu) lose the 's' in the imperative? Tu t'en vas? / Va-t'en!

Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Merle ! This is the rule applying to all -ER verbs in L'Impératif in French: in the "tu" form, they lose the -s, unless they're followed by "- y" or "- en". "Aller" though irregular -ER, still abides by this rule. Have a look at the related lesson: Conjugate regular verbs in L'Impératif (imperative) I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !

Why does the second person (tu) lose the 's' in the imperative? Tu t'en vas? / Va-t'en!

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