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Lesson Transcript

First is Comment, meaning "how." Comment (enunciated). Comment.
Next is ça, "it" ça (enunciated). ça.
Finally, va, "goes" va (enunciated). va.
Va is from the verb aller, meaning "to go." Aller.
All together, it's Comment ça va? This literally means "How it goes?" But it translates as, "How are you?"
Comment ça va ?
Note the rising intonation of the sentence to mark that it's a question. Comment ça va ?
Let's take a closer look at the response.
Do you remember how says,
"I’m fine, thank you."
Ça va bien, merci.
"I’m fine, thank you." Ça va bien, merci.
First is ça va, literally "It goes." ça va (enunciated). Ça va.
Next is the word, bien, meaning "fine” or “well” Bien (enunciated). Bien.
Together, it’s “ça va bien”. Literally, "It goes well," but translates as "I’m fine," or "I’m well." ça va bien.
Next is, merci, meaning "Thank you." merci (enunciated). merci.
All together, it’s Ça va bien, merci. "I’m fine, Thank you." Ça va bien, merci.
When using formal French, Comment allez-vous ? "How are you?" Comment allez-vous ?
Imagine you’re Sadia Simon, Mark Lee’s French teacher. Use the formal expression for "How are you?"
Comment allez-vous ?
"How are you?"
Comment allez-vous ?
This is the most formal and most common expression. It can be used safely with anyone in any situation.
An extremely common way to ask about someone’s well being is the phrase:
Ça va ? How are you? Ça va ?
Ça va ? is a shortened form of Comment ça va ?
The usual response to “ça va ?” is “ça va”.
Listen to the following exchange:
Ça va ?
Ça va. Ça va ?
Ça va.
The intonation makes the difference between the question and the answer.

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