Y = There (adverbial pronoun)

Look at these two examples:

J'vais
I'm going there

Nous y passons tous les soirs.
We pass there every night.

Notice that to refer to a place previously mentioned in French, you use the pronoun y ('there').

Note also that "y" is placed before the conjugated verb.


Look at how "y" can replace locations introduced by the following prepositions: à, sur, chez, dans :

Tu vas à l'école ? - Oui, j'y vais.
Are you going to school? - Yes, I'm going there.

Paul est arrivé à Paris hier ? - Oui, Paul y est arrivé hier.
Did Paul arrive in Paris yesterday? - Yes, Paul arrived there yesterday.

 

Elle a posé les clés sur la table ? - Oui, elle y a posé les clés.
Did she put the keys on the table? - Yes, she put the keys there.

Tu passeras par chez elle ? - Oui, j'y passerai plus tard.
Will you swing by her place ? - Yes, I'll swing by [there] later.

 

Qu'est-ce que tu mets dans cette boîte ? - J'y mets mes bijoux.
What do you put in that box? - I put my jewellery in there.

Depuis quand habite-t-il chez Laurent ? - Il y habite depuis janvier.
Since when has he lived at Laurent's place? - He's lived there since January.

 

BUT

You cannot replace the expression "de + a place" by "y". You will always use "en" instead:

Il vient de la piscine ? - Oui, il en vient.
Is he coming from the swimming pool? - Yes, he is coming from there.

  

See En can replace de + phrase (adverbial pronoun) 

and more advanced cases with Y can replace à + thing / object / location (adverbial pronoun) 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Elle a posé les clés sur la table ? - Oui, elle y a posé les clés.
Did she put the keys on the table? - Yes, she put the keys there.


Nous y retournons demain.
We go back there tomorrow.


Il vient de la piscine ? - Oui, il en vient.
Is he coming from the swimming pool? - Yes, he is coming from there.


Il y travaille.
He works there.


Depuis quand habite-t-il chez Laurent ? - Il y habite depuis janvier.
Since when has he lived at Laurent's place? - He's lived there since January.


Nous y passons tous les soirs.
We pass there every night.


J'vais
I'm going there


Qu'est-ce que tu mets dans cette boîte ? - J'y mets mes bijoux.
What do you put in that box? - I put my jewellery in there.


Paul est arrivé à Paris hier ? - Oui, Paul y est arrivé hier.
Did Paul arrive in Paris yesterday? - Yes, Paul arrived there yesterday.



Tu passeras par chez elle ? - Oui, j'y passerai plus tard.
Will you swing by her place ? - Yes, I'll swing by [there] later.


Tu vas à l'école ? - Oui, j'y vais.
Are you going to school? - Yes, I'm going there.


Q&A

Rob

Kwiziq community member

14 July 2018

3 replies

Why is elle met les tasses là not accepted for she put the cups there?

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

14 July 2018

14/07/18

Hi Rob,

Are you talking about a specific quiz?

 

Chris

Kwiziq community member

16 July 2018

16/07/18

It's simply because the lesson is about the pronoun "y". You're supposed to practice its use. 

-- Chris. 

Jamie

Kwiziq community member

14 August 2018

14/08/18

In general, you are doing something very tempting when learning a foreign language, but something you can never do: you can never take an English sentence, translate each word with a dictionary, and end up with a correct foreign-language sentence. That's just not how grammar works. Foreign languages not only have different lists of words--they have different ways of putting words together into sentences.

There is a famous book where someone tried to go the other way: he took French sentences and looked up the matching English words in a dictionary. The results were pretty comical:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_As_She_Is_Spoke

Susan

Kwiziq community member

7 December 2016

2 replies

what if both a and de are there in the sentence what am i supposed to use en or y ?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

8 December 2016

8/12/16

Bonjour Susan ! You will never use both "y" and "en" together in the same sentence. In such a case, you will use either "en" or "y" to replace one of the groups, and keep the original other group. "Je veux des bonbons à la plage." (I want sweets at the beach.) -> "J'y veux des bonbons." (Not my favourite option, it doesn't sound great to my French ears!) -> "J'en veux à la plage." I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !

Kalonde

Kwiziq community member

29 May 2017

29/05/17

"You will never use both "y" and "en" together in the same sentence." - I often hear the phrase "Y en a." in response to a question like "Il y a des pommes dans ce magasin?", for example. Is it then wrong to use "y" and "en" together in the above sentence?

John

Kwiziq community member

2 August 2016

4 replies

à + a place?

I was under the impression that we replace "à + a place" with "y", but the quiz gives "Elle pose les tasses sur la table." So "y" can replace any preposition + a place? Thanks.

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

3 August 2016

3/08/16

Bonjour J, Yes, y can replace any preposition* that indicates a place: à, sur, dans, chez. *Except de, which is replaced by en.

John

Kwiziq community member

3 August 2016

3/08/16

Thanks, Laura. I think I'm clear on this, but is there a reason you single out "à + a place" in the lesson? Thanks.

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

3 August 2016

3/08/16

Good point, I'll pass this on to Aurélie so she can add some other examples.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

8 August 2016

8/08/16

Bonjour John ! The lesson has now been updated with new examples of cases with "sur, chez, dans". Merci et à bientôt !

Dipika

Kwiziq community member

26 June 2016

1 reply

Is it correct..j'y peux venir ce soir.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

28 June 2016

28/06/16

Bonjour Dipika !

Technically, this sentence "J'y peux venir ce soir" is correct to say "I can come there tonight".
However, no one French would actually use this formulation.

We'd rather say:
Je peux venir ce soir.   or
Je peux venir ici (here)/ (there)/là-bas (over there) ce soir.

I hope that's helpful!

diane

Kwiziq community member

20 April 2016

2 replies

Why is it 'je vais y reflechir' and not 'j'y vais reflechir?'

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

21 April 2016

21/04/16

Bonjour Diane,

Y precedes the verb it modifies, which is réfléchir. Putting y in front of vais would be like saying "I'm going about it to think."

diane

Kwiziq community member

21 April 2016

21/04/16

Oh! Didn't know that. Merci!

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