Larousse is saying that the definition of « y aller de » is

« engager une certaine somme ; produire quelque chose comme contribution. (→ allez !, allons !, va !.) ».

I don’t understand this definition. Therefore could someone provide me with an explanations and some example sentences please. 😊

Please bear in mind that my level in french is beginner thus could you make any explanation as simple as possible. Thank you! 😊


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3 Answers 3


This definition is slightly confusing, even for a native speaker.

A better clue can be found by looking to the TLFi that says:

Fam. Y aller de qqc. Entreprendre une certaine action : 35. Lacretelle me disait : « Allez-y ! Nommez-vous. Allez-y d'une dédicace... » A. Gide, Journal, 1930, p. 966.

where y aller de is used at the imperative: allez-y de...

The meaning is close to "go for it", "go ahead and do it".

Here are examples matching the definitions given by the Larousse:

  1. engager une certaine somme :

J'y vais de 5 francs ! → I'm betting 5 Francs on it. (outdated)

  1. produire quelque chose comme contribution :

Il y va encore de son discours habituel → He brings us again his usual speech.

Note that there is another y aller de expression that is not informal and shouldn't be confused with the one just mentioned, e.g. Il y va de mon honneur. With that second expression, the pronoun il is impersonal. It doesn't represent anything/anyone. Both other replies so far are partially or totally about that other phrase.

See this question for its frequent confusion with en aller de.

  • Thank you so much for your help!!! 😊 I have a few questions that I hoping you could answer.
    – Noybwbh
    Oct 19, 2020 at 20:46
  • (1) What is the meaning of « Il y va de mon honneur ». ? Does it mean “Your honour is at stake.” just like how « Il y va de votre intérêt. » means “your best interest is at stake.”
    – Noybwbh
    Oct 19, 2020 at 20:46
  • Yes, that's what it means.
    – jlliagre
    Oct 19, 2020 at 20:48
  • Thank you! 😊 (2) I don’t understand what your talking about when you say “Both other replies so far are partially or totally about that other phrase.”
    – Noybwbh
    Oct 19, 2020 at 21:03
  • I mean Ouch42's reply is not about the expression you are looking for and Yagmoth555's one has just one example spot on. I added comments to both of these replies to state it. LPH's answer came later. As often, it is a mixture of correct things, unrelated things and possibly "invented French". Searching two of his examples lead to single Google hits, his answer...
    – jlliagre
    Oct 19, 2020 at 21:18

I Contribution

The most common expresssion using that phrase might perhaps be "y aller de sa/leur/notre/… poche" .

  • (fixed phrase) Il a dû y aller de sa poche et a réglé l'addition. → He had to stump up for the check.

  • (fixed phrase) D'habitude ils y vont de leur personne. → Usually they take a hand in it themselves. (Harrap's)

  • Il y est allé d'une bouteille. → He stood us a bottle. (Harrap's)

  • Il y va de ses économies pour payer les études de son fils. → He sacrifices his savings to pay for his son's studies. (Harrap's)

An indefinite number of sentences can be produced by using other noun phrases or expressions than "une bouteille", "ses économies" 30 euros, un bouquet de fleurs, etc.

II Drive, Energy

Nevertheless, "y aller de" is not only used for meanings implying a contribution. Another important context is that of the manner of engaging oneself into an action, an activity. A first common expression is "y aller de tout son cœur".

  • (fixed phrase) Il y est allé de tout son cœur. → He put his whole heart into it. (Harrap's)

Another one is "y aller de toutes ses/sa force(s)". (Harrap's)

  • Il y est allé de toute ses forces. → He went at it for all he was worth.
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Luke Sawczak
    Oct 21, 2020 at 21:03

It can indicate the consequence of not doing something, too.

Like in : "Portez un masque! Il y va de la vie des plus fragiles".

It is then equivalent to "to be at stake", as I understand it.

EDIT : As pointed by jlliagre, the use of "y aller de" in my answer doesn't match the definition from the OP question. Regarding that definition, I have to say that I find it unclear, even being a native french speaker.

  • 1
    That's a different y aller de.
    – jlliagre
    Oct 19, 2020 at 18:31
  • You are right. But I think that knowing the different meanings is usefull for people learning french, for instance.
    – Ouch42
    Oct 20, 2020 at 8:13
  • 1
    Indeed, but you might want to make that clearer in your reply as the question states: I don’t understand this definition.
    – jlliagre
    Oct 20, 2020 at 9:05
  • 1
    It is done. Thank you for pointing out this subtle but real difference.
    – Ouch42
    Oct 20, 2020 at 9:25
  • Isn't this "EN aller de" and not "Y aller de" ?
    – Laurent S.
    Oct 20, 2020 at 13:11

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