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

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.


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.


Q&A

Judy

Kwiziq community member

6 December 2018

2 replies

How and why do I use “y” in this sentence

“Je vais y aller avec toi.” Instead of (my version) “J’y vais aller avec toi.”

Thanks.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

7 December 2018

7/12/18

The "y" comes before the infinitive, similar to other pronouns. In the absence of the infinitive, it comes before the conjugated verb.

Je vais les rencontrer.
Je dois lui en parler.

Judy

Kwiziq community member

7 December 2018

7/12/18

In a frequently asked question, I found out that when using the ‘futur proche’ the pronoun ‘y’ is placed between the verb and the infinitive. For example ‘Je vais y aller’.

Thanks Chris. 

helen

Kwiziq community member

15 November 2018

1 reply

About it - "y"?

She'd been dreaming about it forever.   

The correct answer was "Elle en rêvait depuis toujours."  Why wouldn't this be "Elle y rêvait depuis toujours?

Wouldn't the words "about it"require "y"and "of it" - en?

Steve

Kwiziq community member

18 November 2018

18/11/18

Helen,

The short answer is that the verb rêver takes the preposition "de" when we want to say we dream about/of something, and "de" is replaced by the pronoun "en".

Elle rêve de son père -> Elle en rêve.

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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