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Act #4: Low-fat croissants

The French expression ça va is one of the most common in the entire French language. It literally means ‘it goes’. Ça va can be both a question and an answer and it doesn’t change according to gender and number. In other words, it is invariable. How practical! A word of caution though: it is an informal expression, so you should avoid it when speaking with people you ‘vouvoie’ or use ‘vous’ with, instead of ‘tu’. I’ve listed below a number of uses for ça va as well as some variations of it.

1. Ça va can directly ask how someone is doing.

Salut Guy, ça va ?
Hi Guy, how's it going?

Comment ça va ?
How's it going?

2. Ça va can also be used with a subject or object. Note again that ça va is invariable so there is no change for a plural subject

Ça va les filles ?
How's it going, girls?

Ça va la nouvelle voiture ?
How's the new car working?

3. Ça va can also ask whether something that was just discussed is acceptable.

On va partir vers midi, ça va ?
We'll leave around noon, is that ok? Does that work for you?

4. Ça va can also be an exclamation.

Oh ! Ça va !
Hey, that's enough!

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

- Ça va, Marc ?
- Ça va.
- How's it going, Marc?
- Fine.

- Tu vas bien, André ?
- Ça va.
- Are you well, André?
- Yes / I'm ok.

- Je vais dans ma chambre, ça va ?
- Ça va.
- I’m going to my room, ok?
- OK.

Variations of ça va:

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