In conversation with one of my colleagues, I said jokingly and sarcastically:

Je ne peux pas toujours être là pour toi, tu sais. Enfin si, il y va certes de ma réputation de chevalier blanc, mais ça ne te coûterait rien d’en apprendre toutes les ficelles pour que tu puisses t'en sortir seule, en cas d'éventuel pépin...

Later, I discussed with other colleagues the common mix-up between "il y va de qch" and "il en va de qch" with the meaning of "qch est en jeu".

When I had first picked up this expression and posted a related question a year ago when I had just started learning French, I had thought that "il en va de qch" was the only legitimate expression.

I then went on to find out, however, (according to a similar post) that "il y va de qch" was actually the correct form.

And as it has now turned out, my colleagues are overwhelmingly in favour of "il en va de qch". Which has put me back into the vicious circle of uncertainty once again...

I now wonder if there is a regional difference between the two versions or some factors affect the choice?

  • We had a similar question a few months ago and I would not change my answer. No regional difference as far as I know but just a common misuse.
    – None
    Commented Aug 13, 2017 at 7:30
  • @Laure Precisely, that particular answer of yours back then gave me a lot of food for thought to chew on, as well as a headache. ;) All the more reason I wonder why both versions seem to be used almost as frequently -- not just among my colleagues, but also in many reliable French translations that I have come across in a year. Commented Aug 13, 2017 at 7:46
  • It's just a question of language living / evolving. In XX years from now maybe French won't make the difference between the 2. As far as trustworthy dictionaries are concerned it still exists. See the TLF for instance, Il y va de + nom de chose. Ce qui est en cause, c'est... | Il en va de même (ou ainsi) de (ou pour), il en va (tout) autrement (de ou pour + nom de pers.). La situation est la même ou tout autre (pour telle personne)
    – None
    Commented Aug 13, 2017 at 8:04

1 Answer 1


en and y can usually gramatically be swaped, but they are semantically different.

In contexts where they both mean a change of place, en implies that you're coming from whatever place is mentioned while y implies it to be your destination.

Example :

  • J'y viens means I'm coming to it.
  • J'en viens means I'm coming from it.

In your example, Il represants the assertion from your previous sentence. Since the purpose of your second sentence is to justify that assertion, your reputation is the justification, from which comes that assertion. that from relation is already marked by the preposition de, while what you are actually describing with the verb va is the movement from your repoutation to the conclusion in your previous sentence.

In short, Il y va de ma réputation de ma réputation que je ne pourrai pas toujours être là.

But I guess the en form imposed itself from its existence in other contexts - il en va de même - and a lack of familiarity with the correct form due to its relative rarity.

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