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

Nous nous sommes en allés.
We left.


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.


Q&A

Sara

Kwiziq community member

18 May 2019

0 replies

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!

Sagar

Kwiziq community member

31 January 2019

5 replies

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

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

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

31 January 2019

31/01/19

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! 

Chris

Kwiziq community member

31 January 2019

31/01/19

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.

Alan

Kwiziq community member

31 January 2019

31/01/19

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)

Alan

Kwiziq community member

31 January 2019

31/01/19

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.)

Sagar

Kwiziq community member

31 January 2019

31/01/19

Ah, je vous comprends maintenant.

Merci !

Gillian

Kwiziq community member

26 August 2018

1 reply

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

Gillian

Kwiziq community member

26 August 2018

26/08/18

OK, found the answer!

carole

Kwiziq community member

5 August 2018

1 reply

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.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

7 August 2018

7/08/18

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!

Donald

Kwiziq community member

28 June 2018

2 replies

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

Chris

Kwiziq community member

29 June 2018

29/06/18

Oui, je l'ai entendu dit.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

30 June 2018

30/06/18

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..

 

 

Dragana

Kwiziq community member

7 March 2018

2 replies

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

Chris

Kwiziq community member

7 March 2018

7/03/18

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).

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

7 March 2018

7/03/18

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 !

alison

Kwiziq community member

19 January 2018

2 replies

Hi there

Chris

Kwiziq community member

19 January 2018

19/01/18

Hi, Alison! -- Chris.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

26 January 2018

26/01/18

Bonjour Alison !

Tamani

Kwiziq community member

25 July 2017

3 replies

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!

Ron

Kwiziq community member

28 July 2017

28/07/17

Bonjour Tamani, Je ne connais pas cette chanson. Quel est le titre?

Tamani

Kwiziq community member

31 July 2017

31/07/17

Le titre est "Les petites marionettes." Bonne journée!

Ron

Kwiziq community member

31 July 2017

31/07/17

Bonsoir Tamani, Merci et bonne chance pour vos études dans la langage française.

sue

Kwiziq community member

21 February 2017

1 reply

would nous nous en sommes allés be marked wrong?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

10 March 2017

10/03/17

Bonjour Sue ! No, it would be correct as well. Bonne journée !

Merle

Kwiziq community member

6 December 2016

1 reply

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

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

6 December 2016

6/12/16

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 !
Getting that for you now.