Ça va

Ça va ? Ça va.
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Essential French Expression

Meaning how are you, how’s it going; I’m fine, it’s ok
Literally that goes
Register informal
Pronunciation [sah vah]
IPA   [sa va]

Usage notes: One of the very first French expressions students learn is ça va, and with good reason. This short French phrase is versatile and ubiquitous; it can ask questions and be its own answer, and you’ll hear it and use it throughout the day. However, you should always keep in mind that it’s informal, and only use it with people you tutoie.

Ça va ? = How’s it going? How are you?

Salut Pierre, ça va ?   Hi Pierre, how’s it going?
Comment ça va ?   How’s it going?

Synonyms: ça baigne, ça bouge, ça roule, quoi de neuf

Texting: sa va

Ça va + subject or object is invariable; the verb is always va even if the subject is plural.

Ça va les enfants ?   How’s it going, kids?
Ça va les nouvelles histoires ?   How are the new stories coming along?

Ça va = Is that ok?

Nous y irons dans ma voiture, ça va ?   We’ll take my car, is that ok? Does that work for you?
Il faut que tu achètes du pain en rentrant, ça va ?   You need to buy some bread on the way home, ok?

You can answer any of the above as well as similar questions with ça va:

Par exemple…

– Ça va, Bernard ?
– Ça va. / Oui, ça va.
  – How’s it going, Bernard? You doing ok?
– Fine. / Yes, I’m fine.
– Tu vas bien, Tristan ?
– Ça va.
  – Are you ok, Tristan?
– Yes, I’m ok.
– On part à midi, ça va ?
– Ça va.
  – We’re leaving at noon, ok?
– OK.
– Pardon.
– Ça va.
  – Sorry.
– It’s OK.

For a list of synonyms for the final example, see ce n’est pas grave.

Variations

  • ça va aller ? – will it be ok? will that work?
  • ça va aller – it will be ok
  • ça va bien ? – is it going well? are you doing well?
  • ça va bien – it’s going well, I’m doing well
  • ça va mal – it’s going badly, I’m not doing so well
  • ça ne va pas* – it’s not going well, it’s not ok

  Even more informally, the ne is dropped and this expression is pronounced ça va paslearn more.

Exclamation

As an exclamation, ça va ! means "that’s enough / stop it!"

Par exemple…

Oh ! Ça va !   Hey, that’s enough!

Synonym: ça suffit !
 

 Ça va is also found in two constructions where it’s not actually the fixed expression ça va as above, but rather just the subject ça plus the verb aller in the third person singular.

Ça va + infinitive

“It will”

Par exemple…

Ça va venir.   It’ll happen, it will come.
Ça va aller.   It’ll be ok.

Ça va + indirect object pronoun

"That looks good on ___" or "It suits ___"

Par exemple…

Ça te/vous va (bien).   That suits you.
Ça lui / leur va bien.   That looks good on him/her / them.

 Related lessons

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Ça va ? Ça va.
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