"I am going."
Translation:Je m'en vais.
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It is true that je vais does not stand on its own in French. I put J'y vais which actually means I am going there. It was accepted. We don't need there in English but you need to complete the thought in French. Je m'en vais means I am going...it is an idiomatic expression...not possible to translate all of the components. Remember that French is not a code for English. It has its own ways of expressing itself. It is NOT based on English.
Site surf explained it like this:
"En" is used with quelquel chose (meaning something). So when you say (I am going) in English, this is acceptable because we just fill in the blanks that you are heading somewhere/another destination, you dont have to use somewhere,even though you could if you wanted to.
In French, though you can't just say "je vais" because that does not translate to "going somewhere", so the sentence sounds awkward.
To say you are going somewhere in French, you must say: je m'en vais.
This then gives a hint to the person you are talking to that you are going somewhere.
You might say what about: "j'y vais" - this means you are going there. Literally: I go there. This is not the same as I am going - even in English.
That's just to show you the difference in these phrases.
Now going back to "en". How to use it with the rest of the subjects (tu/il/elle etc), the construction is as follows:
Tu t'en vas Il/elle/on s'en va Nous nous en allons Ils/Elles s'en sont vont. Whenever you see " en" remember, it is referring to something previously talked about, but not mentioned in the sentence you are reading or listening to.
E.g Pourquoi on en parle?
Translates to: why are we talking about it?
And if you were listening to these two people talking, you wouldn't know what that "it" is. You would just know from the use of "en" that it's something known to both speakers, they have talked about it previously. But they are not saying it by name.
And instead of repeating that "something by name" they just use "en".
Site surf even used this example: ton chien est stupide. Je le sais. Pourquoi on en parle.
Translation: I know that, why are talking about it.
So the 'en' in the conversation is the stupid dog.
I dont think anyone assumed that french is a code, it is after all A Language. However we do need context as to when to use each of the versions. In Quebec I often hear it used I the same way Anglos say "I am on my way" or "I am leaving now". I think its possible to translate it literally, 'en - in' used with 'vais' such as ' I am (in the process of) going (right now)'
This helped me a bit! http://french.stackexchange.com/questions/2399/how-to-understand-je-men-vais
It mentioned the fact that the phrase is used idiomatically, but the link breaks down the grammar a bit more.
If someone asked, 'who's going to go to e.g. town?' and you want to say 'I'm going', what would you say? (I thought this is what was being said) I put 'Moi, je vais' but this was marked wrong. Would 'moi, je m'en vais' be correct or would you use a different expression entirely?