Il y a = There is, There are

Look at these examples:

Il y a un oiseau dans mon jardin.   
There is a bird in my garden.

Dans ma maison, il y a cinq pièces.
In my house, there are five rooms.

À Paris, il y a la Tour Eiffel.
In Paris, there is the Eiffel Tower.

Dans ma chambre, il y a un lit, un bureau et une chaise.
In my bedroom, there is a bed, a desk and a chair.

To say there is/there are in French, you use the fixed expression il y a (literally "it has there").

Note: Il y a never changes, even if there is more than one object.

It consists of three separate words: il + y + a.

Never write
il ya, even though it's pronounced that way.

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Dans ma chambre, il y a un lit, un bureau et une chaise.
In my bedroom, there is a bed, a desk and a chair.


Dans ma ville, il y a deux parcs.
In my town, there are two parks.


Il y a un monstre!
There's a monster!


À Londres, il y a beaucoup de touristes.
In London, there are many tourists.


Dans ma maison, il y a cinq pièces.
In my house, there are five rooms.


À Paris, il y a la Tour Eiffel.
In Paris, there is the Eiffel Tower.


Il y a un oiseau dans mon jardin.   
There is a bird in my garden.



Q&A Forum 14 questions, 27 answers

LubnaA0Kwiziq community member

Son sa ses

Why we say 

Elle est son sac

Not Elle est sa sac

Asked 1 month ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Lubna,

Just to add to Lisa's excellent answer to your grammatical query, I think you were trying to say -

It's her bag 

which in French would be -

C'est son sac 

If it was a feminine possession like une valise ( a suitcase), it would be - 

C'est sa valise

Hope this helps!

LisaA1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Hi Lubna, this can be confusing at first. “Mon, ma, mes, ton, ta, tes, son, sa, ses,” etc. are called possessive adjectives and adjectives modify nouns. Here, the noun is “le sac” which is masculine so it takes the masculine form of the possessive adjective which is “son.” It’s confusing because the subject pronoun is “elle” which is feminine. 

The subject pronoun (je, tu, il/elle/on, nous, vous, ils/elles) determines which form (can’t think of right word!) of the possessive adjective you use (like first person, third person singular etc.) but you’ve got that right. The subject pronoun “elle” uses “son, sa or ses.” “Je” would use “mon, ma or mes” and so on. But the noun determines whether you use the feminine, masculine or plural form of the possessive adjective.

Elle a son sac. = She has her bag. “son” because le sac is masculine 

But

Elle a sa voiture. = She has her car. “sa” because la voiture is feminine.

Hope this helps.

Son sa ses

Why we say 

Elle est son sac

Not Elle est sa sac

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MarshalineA0Kwiziq community member

Tell me if I'm correct

Asked 8 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Marshaline, 

Elle a deux livres dans son sac.

Il a un lit, un bureau et une chaise.

Dans ma chambre il n'y a pas de lit, de bureau ni de chaise.

Je m'appelle Marshaline et il y a un oiseau dans mon jardin.

Take a look at the following lesson which explains PAS DE -

https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/the-partitive-article-in-negative-sentences

 

 

MarshalineA0Kwiziq community member

Elle a 2 livres dans mon sac  (she has 2 books in her bag)

Il a un lit, un bureau et une chair (He has a bed, a desk and a chair)

Dans ma chambre,il n'y a pas un lit, un bureau et une chaise ( In my bedroom there are no bed, desk and chair)

Je m'appelle Marshaline et il y a oiseau dans mon jardin ( My name is marshaline and there is a bird in my garden)

Tell me if I'm correct

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MarnieC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Il y a vs il se trouve

just did a writing lesson...”we’ll walk up to the park where is a big sandpit.”  I thought about “où il y a” but decided that “où se trouve un...” fitted better in this context.  Wrong!  When is it best to use which expression and why?
Asked 11 months ago

Il y a vs il se trouve

just did a writing lesson...”we’ll walk up to the park where is a big sandpit.”  I thought about “où il y a” but decided that “où se trouve un...” fitted better in this context.  Wrong!  When is it best to use which expression and why?

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AnushreeA0Kwiziq community member

il is he so why is it not read as he has 3 houses

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Anushree,

If I have understood your question correctly- 

'Il a trois maisons'  would be, 'He has three houses'

'Il Y a trois maisons' =  There are three houses

Il Y A is an idiomatic expression which can be conjugated across tenses but has only one form ILan impersonal pronoun.

Hope this helps!

AnushreeA0Kwiziq community member

Bonjour,

Thank you so much. It helps.

Regards,

Anushree

il is he so why is it not read as he has 3 houses

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SwatiA1Kwiziq community member

Is the negative inversion for , or ?

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Swati,

The correct answer is -

N'y a-t-il pas?

 

 

SwatiA1Kwiziq community member
Sorry, it removed all my quoted words. If negative question, should I use n'y a-t-il pas or y n'a-t-il pas?
SwatiA1Kwiziq community member
Merci.
Swati asked:View original

Is the negative inversion for , or ?

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PaulC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Il ya a, c'est and ce sont

Hello, I am having difficulty when to use Il ya a, c'est and ce sont. Is there a resource on Kwiziq that can teach me the right way to use these alternatives?
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Just a correction to Chris' excellent answer you cannot say:

"Ils sont des enfants" always "Ce sont des enfants".

In the same way as,

"C'est Marie " and not "Elle est Marie" or

"C'est mon frère" and not "Il est mon frère"

Hope this helps!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Ok, let's take "il y a" first. It means simply "there is/are" in the sense of that it exists or is present. For example: "Il y a de grandes montagnes en Autriche" -- "There are big mountains in Austria." "C'est/ce sont" means "it is/they are". In this context "ce" is immutable and will never be "ces". "Ces" is a demonstrative pronoun and belongs to the family "ces, celles, ceux". It always needs a noun and is matched in number and gender to it. Ce ne sont que des enfants -- They are only children. Ces enfants se comportent bien. -- These children behave well. Il y a des pommes fraîches? -- Are there fresh apples? Ce sont des pommes fraîches. -- These are fresh apples. Ces pommes sont fraîches. -- These apples are fresh. Does this make it any clearer? -- Chris (not a native speaker).
PaulC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thanks for your help Chris. Rewriting your answer without the discussion of "ces" I get: "il y a" ... means simply "there is/are" in the sense of that it exists or is present. For example: "Il y a de grandes montagnes en Autriche" -- "There are big mountains in Austria." "C'est/ce sont" means "it is/they are"...(and these are).... Ce ne sont que des enfants -- They are only children. Il y a des pommes fraîches? -- Are there fresh apples? Ce sont des pommes fraîches. -- These are fresh apples. So, if I understand correctly: Ce sont des enfants - These/They are children Il y a des enfants - There are children.
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Yes, correct. Only "They are children" woukd be "Ils sont des enfants." Otherwise you surmise correctly. -- Chris.
PaulC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thank you Cécile and Chris.

Il ya a, c'est and ce sont

Hello, I am having difficulty when to use Il ya a, c'est and ce sont. Is there a resource on Kwiziq that can teach me the right way to use these alternatives?

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YvonneA0Kwiziq community member

How do I know that this is "his" room and not "her" or "their" room?

Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer
Bonjour Yvonne !

When you say "Il y a un lit dans sa chambre.", the possessive sa could indeed refer to either "his" or "her" room, as the gender of the possessive adjective is determined by the possession , and not the owner.

Without a clear context, in French there is no way for you to know the gender of the owner from the possessive adjective !

Have a look at our related lessons:
https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/common-mistakes-with-mon-ma-mes-ton-ta-tes-and-son-sa-ses-possessive-adjectives
https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/use-notre-nos-votre-vos-leur-leurs-to-say-our-your-and-their-possessive-adjectives

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

How do I know that this is "his" room and not "her" or "their" room?

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JimA0Kwiziq community member

A question on pronunciation of "deux" in different situations.

In the video under subject "Ago", in both sentences about the shop "Il y a 2 ans, he pronounces 2 as if it were "douze" (12). I'm not clear on how to distinguish when the last syllable must include the consanent, as in "2 ans".
Asked 2 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour Jim,

Pronouncing the consonant at the end of a word when it precedes a vowel, as in deux ans, is known as a liaison. That is the only time deux is pronounced somewhat similarly to douze.

(It's not identical because the vowel is different: deux = [dœz] while douze = [duz]).
JimA0Kwiziq community member
Merci beacoup. You've answered my question. (Now I just need to develop the ear for that slight difference.)

A question on pronunciation of "deux" in different situations.

In the video under subject "Ago", in both sentences about the shop "Il y a 2 ans, he pronounces 2 as if it were "douze" (12). I'm not clear on how to distinguish when the last syllable must include the consanent, as in "2 ans".

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PatrickA0Kwiziq community member

are de and des the same when it comes to plural denotation?

for example, is combien de livres Y a-t-il dans votre sac the same as combien des livres Y a-t-til dans votre sac?
Asked 2 years ago
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour Patrick, Typically "de" is singular and "des" is plural, After reviewing the lesson, Il y a beaucoup de chats the beaucoup de is a "fixed" expression, if you will meaning a lot of followed by the plural noun chats. J'espère que ma réponse vous aiderez. Ron
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Patrick ! In the cases of "combien de, beaucoup de..." , "de" is actually the preposition "of" and as it's not followed by the article "les", it simply doesn't contract in "des". As you know "des" in French can be both the plural of "un/une": un chat / des chats = [some] cats or the contraction of the preposition "de" (of/from) + "les" (the): la mère des enfants = the mother of the children Il vient des États-Unis = He is from the United States I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !

are de and des the same when it comes to plural denotation?

for example, is combien de livres Y a-t-il dans votre sac the same as combien des livres Y a-t-til dans votre sac?

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PatrickA0Kwiziq community member

Is it valid to say: Tu es monstre! Il y a sans espoir!

Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Patrick ! To say "You're *a* monster!", you also need the article in French, which is masculine to agree with "monstre": "Tu es un monstre !" As for "There is no hope", you need to apply the negative "ne pas" to the verb, as such: "Il n'y a pas d'espoir." See in the following lesson why the partitive article (*de l'* espoir = some hope) becomes d' in the negative: Du, de la, de l', des all become de or d' in negative sentences (partitive articles) I hope that's helpful! À bientôt !
PatrickA0Kwiziq community member
thank you for the reply, it helped alot

Is it valid to say: Tu es monstre! Il y a sans espoir!

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KhalidaA1Kwiziq community member

when do we use en and du

Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Khalida ! Could you please provide a context for your question, and I'll be happy to answer it :)

when do we use en and du

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Abderrahmane A0Kwiziq community member

when we use "en" ex:il y en a qui exagérent

Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team memberCorrect answer
Bonjour Abderrahmane !

This case is tricky as we omit words in both English and French!
"Il y EN a qui exagèrent !" = "There are [some] OF THEM who are pushing it!"

In French, "en" is used to replace "of them" with quantities, but in this case, we don't express the quantity "some".
We should say "Il y en a [certains] qui exagèrent !", but the expression "Il y en a qui" is very idiomatic and colloquial.

Here is a link to the lesson on "en" :
En with quantities = Of them (adverbial pronoun)

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

when we use "en" ex:il y en a qui exagérent

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RafaelA0Kwiziq community member

pièces et chambre ??? they have the same meaning o.O

Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Rafael ! I changed "in my room" to "in my bedroom" to remove ambiguity. Note however that it's perfectly colloquial for English speakers to refer to their bedroom as "their room" in context. They actually use it more often than "bedroom" :) À bientôt !

pièces et chambre ??? they have the same meaning o.O

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PatrickA0Kwiziq community member

Does 'il y a' change when used in the passe compose? for example to say 'there were' two people.

Asked 3 years ago
RossC1Kwiziq community member
Il y avait= there was/there were ....................... ......il y aura = there will be
LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour Patrick, Yes, "a" is the third person present of avoir, so it changes for other tenses/moods: il y avait, il y a été, il y aura, il y aurait, etc.
PatrickA0Kwiziq community member
Merci Ross et Laura. That was very helpful.

Does 'il y a' change when used in the passe compose? for example to say 'there were' two people.

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