I have heard the following sentence in the TV series Marseille:

  • Tu n'as pas à arrêter tout pour me faire plaisir, à moi. Il en va de ta vie.

Context: The former mayor of Marseille has suffered a cardiac arrest and is now in the hospital. He has recently woken up and his wife is telling him that he must change his life style in order to preserve his health.

Does "il en va de qqch" mean "it is about sth" ? Does the pronoun "en" mean anything here?

  • Are you sure it is not "il y va de ta vie" ? That would then make more sense.
    – Greg
    Apr 15, 2020 at 17:30
  • @Greg I hear "en", but I could be hearing wrong. If you could check, that line is at S02E01, 23:36 (30:00 before end) Apr 15, 2020 at 17:56
  • 1
    You got it right, she says "il en va". As Jiliagre's answers says, it is an error even done by native speakers, the correct form should be "il y va".
    – Greg
    Apr 16, 2020 at 5:21

1 Answer 1


Here, "il en va de [something]" means that something is at stake, and could be endangered. The character uses this phrasing to emphasize the fact that the mayor should not stop only to make her happy, but that there is an actual good reason to stop.

You could also phrase it this way:

Tu n'as pas à arrêter pour me faire plaisir. C'est ta vie qui est en jeu.

Related: What does "Il en va de..." mean in this context?

However, it is worth noting that in this context, the correct form would be "Il y va de ta vie". The Académie Française (which has a certain influence in French language, even if it is not an official authority) uses this definition:

Les locutions Il en va de et Il y va de sont correctes et s’emploient régulièrement en français, mais elles n’ont pas le même sens. Il y va de, qui généralement s’emploie seul, signifie, lorsque l’on évoque une situation dangereuse : « il s’agit de, c’est cela qui est en jeu ». [...] Ce n’est pas le sens d’Il en va, qui s’emploie avec un adverbe ou une locution adverbiale, [...] et signifie « il en est ».

  • What does "il en est" mean? Could you give an example? Apr 15, 2020 at 17:57
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    The closest translation for "il en va" or "il en est" would be "The same goes for". It's an elegant way of comparing things. The Académie link I posted gives the following example: "Les navires sont de plus en plus grands ; Il en va de même des avions" ("Boats are getting bigger and bigger , The same goes for planes").
    – Reyedy
    Apr 15, 2020 at 18:26

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