¡Que le vaya bien!

Lorena's Note: One of my favorite Mexican expressions, meaning "May you travel well", is used whenever people are parting, whether it's walking a few blocks home or leaving on a long trip. For years I have signed my letters with "¡Qué le vaya bien!" At least until Flo Ariessohn informed me that there is no accent on the "Que". Her explanation follows:

Dear Lorena,

Sorry about the corrections to your had the bad luck to write to a Spanish teacher (and apparently I couldn't resist rudely correcting you)!

Here's the grammatical explanation, for what it's worth: "que le (te, les, etc.) vaya bien" means "that things (should) go well for you, a shortened form of "I hope that things will go well for you." The "que" in the expression "Espero que le vaya bien" is a relative pronoun used with most subjunctive expressions. Examples: Espero que podamos ver la película esta noche. Es posible que vaya Juan con nosotros. Ojala que no llueva. No creo que tengas razón, etc. Most people have trouble with the subjunctive if they learned Spanish "informally", but it isn't hard with a little instruction. We just aren't used to it with English since it is much rarer.

Some sentences have qué with an accent -- the most common would be an interrogative: ¿Qué te parece el mole? or an exclamation like ¡Qué horror! My guess is that "que le vaya bien" sounded like the exclamation-type to you. Does that help? Anytime you need help with language issues, I'd be happy to oblige, but I must apologize for rudely correcting you like that...sometimes I can't resist! :)

Best, Flo Ariessohn

Lorena's Note:

So then I signed another letter using the familiar, "¡Que te vayas bien!" and got the following response

--Ok, Lorena, forgive me, but the old Spanish teacher is popping out. The
phrase is really a shortened version of an old, longer phrase, something

(Espero) que te/le/les vaya bien (la vida, el dia, el viaje, etc), so you
just change the indirect object pronoun to fit the person(s) and leave vaya
alone. Forgive me for correcting you, ok? It's rude, but I can't help it!



Speaking Spanish
©1972-2000 by Carl Franz & Lorena Havens
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