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French Grammar Lesson 8

Going, Going….

How do you say “I’m going” in French?

Simple. You don’t.

English-speakers use “I’m going” in one of two ways – either to indicate something they plan to do (“I’m going to sleep”) or someplace they plan to go (“I’m going to Texas.”) Most of the time, French-speakers just use “I go” for either purpose. “I’m going to sleep” becomes “Je vais dormer” – I go to sleep.  “I’m going to Texas tomorrow” becomes “Je vais demain au Texas.

If for some reason you need to indicate that you will be going to Texas sometime but you’re not sure when, you can use the future tense – “J’irai au Texas,” which incorporates the future tense of the word “will.” But if you know exactly when you plan to go to Texas – for example, demain, or tomorrow – most French-speakers would use the present tense together with the anticipated time of departure — “Je vais demain au Texas.” It sounds stranger to us than it would to the French.

In English, we tend to use “I’m going to Texas” to indicate that you are going soon (or you’re actually on the way), and “I go to Texas” to indicate that you visit Texas occasionally – like “I go to Texas every Christmas.” The French think that’s peculiar. But all languages are unique, and the only thing you can do is go with it!

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