Is there a past tense for "Ça y est" using "Ça y etais = That's it, It was done"

Paul

Kwiziq community member

25 September 2017

6 replies

Is there a past tense for "Ça y est" using "Ça y etais = That's it, It was done"

This relates to:
Ça y est = That's it, It's done -

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

25 September 2017

25/09/17

Bonjour Paul, Yes. Since "est" is the third person singular of être, you can use this expression in any tense by conjugating être accordingly.

Ça y était (t at the end, not s)

Ça y a été

Ça y sera

etc.

Paul

Kwiziq community member

25 September 2017

25/09/17

That's very helpful Laura, thank you.
I listen to French language radio everyday (from Quebec) and I hear something like "Ça y était" or "Ça a été" spoken frequently. Can you please help me understand their usage, and are they pronounced the same?

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

29 September 2017

29/09/17

They're not pronounced quite the same.

Ça y était = [sa je te]

Ça a été = [sa a e te]

On their own, the meaning is very similar - it was ok, it worked out. I'll ask Aurélie, who is a native speaker, to respond in detail.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

29 September 2017

29/09/17

Bonjour Paul !

Though you can technically conjugate this expression in past tenses (thanks Laura !), you will never really use it in other contexts than the present.
Indeed, "ça y est" expresses some kind of immediate relief after an action been completed, hence its strong link with the present.
You could possibly encounter "ça y était" in indirect speech, when reported someone's words, but none of the other forms would be used by a native (including the future).

I hope that's helpful!
Aurélie

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

29 September 2017

29/09/17

As for the nuance of meaning between "ça a été" and "ça y était", I must disagree, it's two different expressions, with different meanings and uses:

- Like I said above, "ça y était", means either literally "it/this was there" or, just like "ça y est", it can mean "here it was/it was done/I was done" in a context of indirect speech.

- "Ça a été" literally means "it's been/it was", and as a fixed expression is used to express "it's been ok/it was ok", like at the restaurant for example:
Serveur: Ça a été ? (It's been fine? / How was it?)
Client: Oui, très bien merci.

I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

Paul

Kwiziq community member

29 September 2017

29/09/17

Thank you Aurélie and Laura for your helpful answers. I do remember being asked "ça y été" in restaurants in France. I shall listen more carefully to the radio and try to figure out the context.

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