Using avoir instead of être

KalpanaC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Using avoir instead of être

Hello: I'm wondering why the two phrases "will there be" (popcorn) and "there must be" (mermaids) require avoir rather than être. "Est-ce qu'il y être" doesn't sound right, but I don't why. On the other hand, "il doit être des sirènes" sounds okay. I'd be grateful for an explanation.

Thanks so much!

Asked 9 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Kalpana,

1. The expression is -

il y a there is /are 

il y a du popcorn = there is popcorn

il y avait du popcorn = there was popcorn

il y aura du popcorn = there will be popcorn

2. The expression is

il doit y avoir = there must be

( the 'il' in both expressions is an impersonal pronoun) 

Il doit y avoir beaucoup de monde en ville = There must be a lot of people in town

Il doit y avoir du pain dans le congélateur = There must be some bread in the freezer

Both use 'avoir' and not être as in English.

'Il doit être des sirènes' doesn't sound okay I am afraid.

Hope this clarifies matters.

Soraya C1Kwiziq community member

Unfortunately, in French there are some phrases that take "avoir" as a rule and we must learn them by heart, such as, avoir faim, avoir + ans, avoir besoin de, avoir de la chance, avoir envie de, avoir raison etc.  There is a list of these "avoir" idiomatic expressions. 

KalpanaC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Would it be wrong to say "il doit être des sirènes"? How about "il doit être un champion"? What's the difference in terms of grammar?

KalpanaC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Thank you--this is very helpful. 

CécileKwiziq team member

Hi again Kalpana,

To answer your second question you could say -

Elle / Ce doit /  être une sirène = She must be a mermaid (sirène being feminine)

and

Il / Ce doit être un champion = He must be a champion

But this is not the impersonal 'il' 

hope it helps!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KalpanaC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

This is super helpful! Thanks so much : )

Using avoir instead of être

Hello: I'm wondering why the two phrases "will there be" (popcorn) and "there must be" (mermaids) require avoir rather than être. "Est-ce qu'il y être" doesn't sound right, but I don't why. On the other hand, "il doit être des sirènes" sounds okay. I'd be grateful for an explanation.

Thanks so much!

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Ask a question

Find your French level for FREE

Test your French to the CEFR standard

Find your French level
Thinking...