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

Ils s'en vont.
They're leaving.


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


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.


Q&A Forum 10 questions, 19 answers

SaraB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

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 5 months ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct 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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SagarB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

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

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

Asked 9 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect 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! 

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

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.

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

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)

AlanC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

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.)

SagarB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

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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Gillian C1Kwiziq community member

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

Asked 1 year ago
Gillian C1Kwiziq community member
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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CaroleC1Kwiziq community member

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 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect 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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DonaldC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

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 team memberCorrect 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..

 

 

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

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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DraganaC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

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

Asked 1 year ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect 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 !

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

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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AlisonC1Kwiziq community member

Hi there

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Hi, Alison! -- Chris.
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Alison !

Hi there

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TamaniA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

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 2 years ago
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour Tamani, Je ne connais pas cette chanson. Quel est le titre?
TamaniA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Le titre est "Les petites marionettes." Bonne journée!
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
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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SueC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

would nous nous en sommes allés be marked wrong?

Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Sue ! No, it would be correct as well. Bonne journée !

would nous nous en sommes allés be marked wrong?

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MerleB2Kwiziq community member

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

Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
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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