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"où vont les garçons" - how are the boys

I am just curious here on why we use "vont" over "sont". Is it a matter of context or some other rule on être that I am missing?

July 17, 2017



I don't really understand what you mean, but maybe this helps: où vont les garçons? - where are the boys going? lit: where go the boys.
où sont les garçons? - where are the boys?
comment vont les garçons? - how are the boys? lit: how go the boys


yeah, sorry that was meant to be "comment". Silly me. My confusion was with "vont" vs "sont" though. The exercise asked to translate "how are the boys?" to french, and I originally wrote "comment sont les garçons ?" which seemed like a direct translation but duolingo didn't like it. Until now I had nothing for "vont" in my notes either, so I was curious :/


Are you sure this isn't "Comment vont les garçons"? That would be "How are the boys?" or "How is it going with the boys?" "Où vont les garçons?" would be "Where are the boys going?"

Comment + form of the verb aller = How is it going

For example, "Comment ça va? = How are you? or How is it going?


oh yes, my bad. I did mean to say comment rather than où. So I should have used a translation of "go" rather than "are"?


Right. Translations are not always literally word-for-word. So, it's a good to learn translations of chunks of words in a sentence/context rather than just one translation for each word. Most of us start out learning just one translation per word but then as you learn more, you begin to realize that it's not always that simple. This is why I focus on learning sentences rather than just doing one word flashcards.

These are all different ways to say "How are you?" in French:

Ça va?

Comment ça va?

Comment-allez vous?

Notice that all of them use some form of the word aller (to go), whereas English would usually use a form of (to be) except for "How is it going with you?"


VONT= aller (go)

SONT= être (to be) Attention: here those two verbes are conjugated to the present.


oh I see, lovely thank you.

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