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

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.



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.


Q&A

Swati

Kwiziq community member

3 September 2018

3 replies

Is the negative inversion for , or ?

Swati

Kwiziq community member

3 September 2018

3/09/18

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?

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

3 September 2018

3/09/18

Hi Swati,


The correct answer is -


N'y a-t-il pas?


 


 

Swati

Kwiziq community member

5 September 2018

5/09/18

Merci.

Paul

Kwiziq community member

13 January 2018

5 replies

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?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

14 January 2018

14/01/18

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).

Paul

Kwiziq community member

14 January 2018

14/01/18

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.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

15 January 2018

15/01/18

Yes, correct. Only "They are children" woukd be "Ils sont des enfants." Otherwise you surmise correctly.

-- Chris.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

4 September 2018

4/09/18

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!

Paul

Kwiziq community member

4 September 2018

4/09/18

Thank you Cécile and Chris.

Yvonne

Kwiziq community member

9 August 2017

1 reply

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

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

9 August 2017

9/08/17

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 !

Jim

Kwiziq community member

9 July 2017

2 replies

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".

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

9 July 2017

9/07/17

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]).

Jim

Kwiziq community member

10 July 2017

10/07/17

Merci beacoup. You've answered my question. (Now I just need to develop the ear for that slight difference.)

Patrick

Kwiziq community member

29 May 2017

2 replies

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?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

30 May 2017

30/05/17

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

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

1 June 2017

1/06/17

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 !

Patrick

Kwiziq community member

25 May 2017

2 replies

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

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

29 May 2017

29/05/17

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

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

Patrick

Kwiziq community member

29 May 2017

29/05/17

thank you for the reply, it helped alot

Khalida

Kwiziq community member

22 January 2017

1 reply

when do we use en and du

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

27 January 2017

27/01/17

Bonjour Khalida !

Could you please provide a context for your question, and I'll be happy to answer it :)

abderrahmane

Kwiziq community member

8 November 2016

1 reply

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

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

8 November 2016

8/11/16

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" :
https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/the-adverbial-pronoun-en-means-of-them-with-quantities

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

Rafael

Kwiziq community member

2 November 2016

1 reply

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

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

4 November 2016

4/11/16

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 !

Patrick

Kwiziq community member

18 September 2016

3 replies

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

Ross

Kwiziq community member

19 September 2016

19/09/16

Il y avait= there was/there were ....................... ......il y aura = there will be

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

19 September 2016

19/09/16

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.

Patrick

Kwiziq community member

19 September 2016

19/09/16

Merci Ross et Laura. That was very helpful.

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