French expression of the day: On va pas tarder

French expression of the day: On va pas tarder
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
Whether you're late, delayed or arriving soon, this is a handy and versatile expression that doesn't really have an English equivalent.

Why do I need to know on va pas tarder?

Because French people use it all the time.

What does it mean?

On va pas tarder is yet another French expression that does not really have an English equivalent.

Tarder is the French verb for 'being late', and literally the expression means 'we will not delay' (which doesn't make sense). It can be translated in English as 'we’ll be there soon', but also 'we won't be late', 'we'll go home soon', 'we'll hurry' and so on.

Although it's a common expression, you won't see it written. 

It’s actually on ne va pas tarder but French usually ditch the ne in conversation (in general, not just for this expression).

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See also on The Local:

On means 'we', but you can swap it for any pronoun, it's just a matter of changing the va to the right version of the verb aller.

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Use it like this

Les nouvelles mesures sanitaires concernant la Covid ne vont pas tarder à être annoncées par le premier ministre – The new Covid health measures will be announced by the Prime Minister soon.

Je ne vais pas tarder à dîner – I'm going to have dinner in a bit

Mon nouveau livre ne va pas tarder à arriver – My new books is set to arrive soon

Mon patron ne va pas tarder à me proposer une promotion – My boss is going to promote me soon


On arrive bientôt – We’ll be there soon

Je suis bientôt  – I’ll be there shortly


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