Il y a + duration = Ago (expressions of time)

Look at these sentences:

J'ai mangé il y a une heure.I ate an hour ago.

Il est venu à Londres il y a cinq ans.He came to London five years ago.

Ils sont arrivés il y a trois jours.They arrived three days ago.


Notice that to say "ago" in French, you use the expression "il y a" followed by the time duration.

You cannot say ''un mois il y a'' (unless you're Yoda!)

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Examples and resources

La bataille de Waterloo a eu lieu il y a 200 ans.The battle of Waterloo took place 200 years ago.
Ils sont arrivés il y a trois jours.They arrived three days ago.
Il est venu à Londres il y a cinq ans.He came to London five years ago.
J'ai mangé il y a une heure.I ate an hour ago.
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