J'allais + infinitive = I was going to (Le Futur Proche in the past)

Look at these examples of Le Futur Proche dans le Passé, or how to say 'was/were going to' :

J'allais fermer la porte quand tu m'as appelé.
I was going to close the door when you called me.

Tu allais manquer ton avion, c'est pour ça que tu t'es dépêché.
You were going to miss your plane, that's why you rushed.

Elle allait appeler la police !
She was going to call the police!

Allions-nous y arriver ? Personne ne le savait.
Were we going to make it? No one knew.

Vous alliez vous rejoindre plus tard.
You were going to meet later.

Oh là là ! Qu'est-ce qu'ils allaient s'ennuyer !
My oh my! They were going to get so bored!

 

Note that to express 'I was going to + verb', you use l'Imparfait of the verb aller in French, followed by the infinitive.


ATTENTION:
Using Le Passé Composé would mean 'I went to do'!
e.g. Je suis allé faire mes devoirs.  (I went to do my homework.)

 

 

See also the previous lesson Aller + infinitive = to be going to (Le Futur Proche) 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Vous alliez vous rejoindre plus tard.
You were going to meet later.


Allions-nous y arriver ? Personne ne le savait.
Were we going to make it? No one knew.


Tu allais manquer ton avion, c'est pour ça que tu t'es dépêché.
You were going to miss your plane, that's why you rushed.


Elle allait appeler la police !
She was going to call the police!


Oh là là ! Qu'est-ce qu'ils allaient s'ennuyer !
My oh my! They were going to get so bored!


J'allais fermer la porte quand tu m'as appelé.
I was going to close the door when you called me.


Q&A Forum 9 questions, 19 answers

Which tense is this?

I read this phrase somwhere: <> also the same tense (i.e. futur proche dans le passé?

What confuses me here is that this translates in English literally as: "This week, the museum announced that the art was going to be restored from next February." But that's absurd because then we have a nuance of the past (the museum announced; art was going to be restored) as well as future (from next February).

Wouldn't the simple futur proche tense suffice here since we are talking about the future? 

Thanks in advance for your help!

Asked 6 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Shefali,

Alan is indeed correct , it is because of reported speech -

The museum says : 

"L' art va être restauré à partir de février prochain"

In reported speech or indirect speech -

"Le musée a annoncé que l'art allait être restauré à partir de février prochain"

In reported speech the main changes in tenses are: 

Présent ----> Imparfait

Passé composé -----> Plus-que-parfait

Imparfait ----> Imparfait    (no change)

Plus-que-parfait———> Plus-que-parfait (no change)

Futur ----> Conditionnel

Futur antérieur———-> Conditionnel passé (rare)

Conditionnel Présent ----> Conditionnel présent (no change)

Conditionnel passé ———-> Conditionnel passé (no change)

We are working on a lesson at this very moment ...

The phrase got omitted due to some reason. I'll re-paste it here: 

"Cette semaine, le museé a anoncé que l'art allait être restauré à partir de février prochain." 

This is an interesting question, and I hope we get an answer from one of the native speaker experts.

It's a question of reported speech, where the tense is normally changed ("backshifted") from the original speech when it gets reported. So typically the museum spokesman says "The art will be restored" and this gets reported as "He said that the art was going to be restored". 

This backshift is characteristic of reported speech in both French and English. But, at least in English, it doesn't always happen. The backshift is optional if you know that the statement is still true (i.e. still in the future in this case) when you report it. 

In this case we're told it's from next February, so it must still be in the future. Therefore in English we'd probably say "This week, the museum announced that the art will be restored from next February." 

If, instead, you said "This week, the museum announced that the art was going to be restored from next February." it might imply that it's no longer true - e.g. the museum has had to cancel it's plan for lack of funding.

I'd be interested to know whether this is also true in French.

Mille mercis, Alan! :) What you're saying is making sense to me. I'm going with this explanation until a native expert contests it. 

In English, we have essentially the same basic rules about changes in tense, but there a lot of exceptions. To achieve native speaker fluency in English, you have to go beyond those basic rules. 

In general, reported speech seems to be similar in French and English, but I imagine there must be some differences. Perhaps we are more flexible in deciding whether to backshift in English? I hope the coming lesson will discuss these differences.

Merci, Cécile! It's a lot more clearer now. Looking forward to the lesson on Reported Speech.

Which tense is this?

I read this phrase somwhere: <> also the same tense (i.e. futur proche dans le passé?

What confuses me here is that this translates in English literally as: "This week, the museum announced that the art was going to be restored from next February." But that's absurd because then we have a nuance of the past (the museum announced; art was going to be restored) as well as future (from next February).

Wouldn't the simple futur proche tense suffice here since we are talking about the future? 

Thanks in advance for your help!

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I thought that the 'imparfait' was used for showing a past habit as well i.e I used to..... as well as; I was .... so 2 correct answers?

Asked 10 months ago
Not to worry! I've realised my error as the sentence was: J'allais manquer.... ( I was going to miss.... ) vs Je manquais.... ( which could mean: I was missing.... or I used to miss..... and so the former sentence was correct.

I thought that the 'imparfait' was used for showing a past habit as well i.e I used to..... as well as; I was .... so 2 correct answers?

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JonathanC1

Does this indicate failure?

In English, when we say “I was going to...”, it implies that we intended to do something but didn’t. Is the same true in French? Or, for example, could I say « J’allais ouvrir la fenêtre quand j’ai entendu un crie horrible. Je suis sorti par la fenêtre tout suite ! »
Asked 10 months ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Jonathan,

Indeed it is exactly the same meaning in French, You were going to do something and something prevented you from doing it...

J'allais sortir promener mes chiens quand j'ai réalisé qu'il pleuvait = I was going to go and walk my dogs when I realised it was raining

Hope this helps!

Bonjour.  I’m curious, based on this reply, what’s the best way to say:

“i was going to the market when..”?

would that also be “j’allais au marché quand...

or would a different construction be better such as:

j’étais en train d’aller au marché quand...

CécileKwiziq language super star

Hi Bill,

"J'allais au marché quand ...." is correct  for "I was going to the market when..."

The use of the imperfect already conveys the duration required for that meaning.

 

Jonathan asked:View original

Does this indicate failure?

In English, when we say “I was going to...”, it implies that we intended to do something but didn’t. Is the same true in French? Or, for example, could I say « J’allais ouvrir la fenêtre quand j’ai entendu un crie horrible. Je suis sorti par la fenêtre tout suite ! »

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Une phrase avec "Si/if" ... l'imparfait/le conditionnel

Stephane ...(allait) rater son rendez-vous s'il ne se dépêchait pas. Est-ce qu'on peut dire plus correctement -Stephane raterait son rendez-vous s'il ne se dépêchait pas? Est-ce que j'ai raison? Expliquez -le-moi, s'il vous plaît.
Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

Your sentence is also correct but has a slightly different meaning. 

Stephane was going to miss his meeting if he didn't hurry. -- Stephane allait rater son rendez-vous s'il ne se dépêchait pas  

Stephane would missed his meeting if he didn't hurry. -- Stephane raterait son rendez-vous s'il ne se dépechait pas. 

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Sorry, I made a typo in the second example:

Stephane would miss his meeting, ....

-- Chris. 

Une phrase avec "Si/if" ... l'imparfait/le conditionnel

Stephane ...(allait) rater son rendez-vous s'il ne se dépêchait pas. Est-ce qu'on peut dire plus correctement -Stephane raterait son rendez-vous s'il ne se dépêchait pas? Est-ce que j'ai raison? Expliquez -le-moi, s'il vous plaît.

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La question sur l'examen était Stephane ... (allait)

Asked 1 year ago
Please repost your question here. -- Chris. 

La question sur l'examen était Stephane ... (allait)

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TamaniA2

Quand tu m'as appelé

Should it not be "quand tu m'es appélé?
Asked 2 years ago
RonC1Correct answer
Bonsoir Tamani,

No, in this case, «m'as appelé» is the correct syntax, the reason being that it is NOT a reflexive verb. Instead «m' = me» functions as a direct object pronoun, who were you going to call --> me.
If, on the other hand, you were telling someone your name, one would say Je m'appelle . . . or Il s'est appelé . . .--> he called himself. . . or more correctly «he is named».
It is very easy to confuse the use of direct object pronouns with the reflexive verbs; however, this is something that you will learn with time.

J'espère que ma réponse vous aidera.
Bonne chance et bonne continuation dans vos études en français, la langue de Molière et qui a été utilisé par le monde depuis l’époque d’Hugues Capet
Tamani asked:View original

Quand tu m'as appelé

Should it not be "quand tu m'es appélé?

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Qu'est-ce qu'ils allaient s'ennuyer

Qu'est-ce qu'ils allaient s'ennuyer is not a question? Do you have a lesson on that? Thank you.
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super starCorrect answer
Bonjour Dzoan !

We don't have a lesson on this yet, but here's an explanation :)

Qu'est-ce que or Comme can both be used to introduce exclamative sentences such as "How bored were they going to get!" or "How nice are you!":
Comme tu es gentil!
Qu'est-ce que tu es gentil!


Here's a link to a related lesson on how to express exclamations with "What a...!":
https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/revision/grammar/how-to-express-what-a-with-quel-quelle-quels-quelles

À bientôt !

Qu'est-ce qu'ils allaient s'ennuyer

Qu'est-ce qu'ils allaient s'ennuyer is not a question? Do you have a lesson on that? Thank you.

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How would you write "We used to go to the cafeteria"?

That was the answer I chose and I am curious as to why it is wrong.
Asked 2 years ago
Nous allions à la cafétéria. It's the imparfait when you "used to"do something.
OK thanks.
"We used to go to the cafeteria." is a general statement about the past and therefore translated using the imparfait: "Nous allions à la cafétéria." However, the exercise seems to be about something else (Le futur proche in the past). If you wanted to say "We were going to go to the cafeteria." you would translate this as "Nous allions aller à la cafétéria." -- Chris.

How would you write "We used to go to the cafeteria"?

That was the answer I chose and I am curious as to why it is wrong.

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est-ce que je peux écrire j'allais aller?

Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq language super star
Oui, si vous voulez dire "I was going to go."

est-ce que je peux écrire j'allais aller?

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Let me take a look at that...