French Expression of the Day: Ça va aller

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French Expression of the Day: Ça va aller
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

It's rare that you'll get through a whole day in France without hearing this expression.


Why do I need to know ça va aller?

It is an extremely common expression which is said all the time in France and you will start sounding a lot of more native if you can start throwing it into conversation too. 

What does it mean?

Ça va aller roughly pronounced sah vah ah-lay – means “it's going to be alright” or “it'll be okay” in French.

You'll hear this expression in all manner of situations during life in France. Whether you're buying bread or being comforted by a friend during a life crisis, this is one of the most used French phrases.


For example, if you're with a friend who is concerned or stressed about something, you could comfort them with the words: Ne t'inquiète pas, ça va aller. - Don't worry, it's going to be alright. 

You can hear the pronunciation in the chorus (at about 0.44) of this song by Francophone artist Stromae.


There are other contexts you might hear ça va aller as well.

One common situation is when visiting a restaurant, cafe or boulangerie. Maybe you were asked if you want to order more, and you do not want to add anything, or the cashier wants to  know if you would like the receipt and you do not - you can say "Non merci, ça va aller." This means 'no, thanks, that's ok'' or "no, thanks, that'll be all."

You can also turn it into a question, so you could ask: Ça va aller?  to mean 'Will it be ok?' or 'Will that work?'

Another way French people use this expression is by saying ça ira - which translates exactly to "it will go" and functions very similarly to ça va aller.

Use it like this

Ça va aller ? Ce canapé est peut-être trop grand pour passer la porte, je pense. –  Will it work? This couch is maybe too big to go through the door, I think.

"Voulez-vous ajouter quelque chose à votre commande, madame ?" "Non merci, ça va aller." – Would you like to add anything to your order, ma'am? No thank you, that'll be all.


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