"Il y a des filles."

Translation:There are girls.

January 4, 2013

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I have heard people simply start sentences with "y a". Im not quite sure what the il is used for but otherwise its important to understand the cultural importance of conjugation. For example, the english versatility of do and get are not translated in french. On the other hand, the french use words such as have and are in some places that we do not in order to conjugate what they mean. For example Weather is conjugated by saying "Le temps fait" or the time "does".


The only time a sentence would start like that would be in a question. "Y a t-il des animaux?"
I'm pretty sure you are talking about the "il" being dropped entirely though. What they're actually saying is "Il y a". The "Il" just gets dropped sometimes by some speakers when speaking fast or with friends. You wouldn't find "Y a" in written form unless it was someone sending you a text or in the comments section of Youtube.
Read up on "il y a" here: http://french.about.com/od/vocabulary/a/ilya.htm


Speaking of "il" do you know of the other reasons and uses for il? how do u distinguish between il est and c'est?


This is where I got confused because I took the "il" as he has some girls. Not "there are some girls"

  • 1485

That would be "Il a des filles"


I got confused also with this one. But I do remember someone telling me "Il y a un accident.." when refering to an accident in a street near us.


merci beaucoup mon mec.


do you mean to say that "y a" is used for questions? i have been questioned this way once.

  • 1485

"il" can be dropped in this phrase in colloquial language, like the first negative, e.g. J'ai pas vingt ans.


That is covered in the link.


Ive spent a lot of time with french people and what they say seems to be closer to "i y a" - they drop the L and the iiii sound is longer


I've memorized the expression "Il y a", but I'm not sure I understand how it all fits together... for example, would one ever really say "il y avons"?


"il y a" only moves with tense, not with the object.

Examples: Il y a un homme - il y a des filles Il y avait un homme - il y avait des filles (imparfait) Il y aura un homme - il y aura des filles (future)


The verb "a" refers to the noun "il", so it has to be in the singular third-person form in that phrase.


Il y a means practically the same as there is or there are in english.


Avons goes with nous. So one could say "nous y avons", as in "Nous y avons assité."


I'm having trouble disambiguating with the word "des." I know "des" has multiple meanings, but how can I tell when "des" means "some" as in this exercise, but means "the" as in the exercise "Elle parle des robes" from a previous lesson? This could be an important distinction if looking for something, say if you were lost in France and someone pointed out the people you were looking for versus just some people that were around.


It needs to understand the context and the meaning of the sentence itself.

"il y a des filles" = there are (a certain number of) girls or some girls, or a few girls. In all these meanings you don't know how many they are, nor whether there is something specific and well-defined aout them.

This is simply an indefinite article, plural of un/une (which does not exist in English).

"elle parle des robes" = she speaks about the dresses. In English, you have definite article "the", so in French, you simply pick definite article "le/la/les". In addition, you have to remember that speak about" is "parler de" and that with preposition "de", there are possible contractions:

  • de-le => du
  • de-les => des.
  • de la is never contracted.


Could someone explain the expression "il y a" in depth so as to understand how each word works together to mean "there is/are"? Or is it just something unique to French that cannot be translated word for word into English and has to be understood loosely?


"il" = impersonal pronoun

"y" = there

"a" = verb avoir, 3rd person singular, agreeing "il"

Obviously, if you translated directly "it there has", you would get nonsense. So, just remember "il y a" = "there is" or "there are".


Couldn't it be: HE has some girls/daughters?

  • 1485

nope, that would be "Il a des filles". Il y a is a very common set phrase, just learn that it means "there is" or "there are", no need to look for alternative meanings.

There's just one exception – with time periods it means "ago":
Il y a vingt ans j'ai habité en France. – 20 years ago I lived in France.


im re-learning french after 10 years and i remember being taught both 'elle y a' and 'il y a' to distinguish between feminine and masculine the same as elles and ills. was this wrong? (my tutor was an expat brit)


"elle y a" can be found, but not to mean "there is (something feminine)".

  • il y a une femme

  • elle est allée au marché; elle y a trouvé des fruits (she went to the market; she found fruit there)


well il y a means there are


How would you translate "He has girls there" ?

and "He found girls there" would be "Il y a trouvé des filles"?

[deactivated user]

    our teacher told us "filles" means gals,like teenage girls and a bit older... but here they mean daughter or a little girl...

    I don't get it.


    the noun "fille" means "girl".

    in specific context, it also means "daughter", especially with possessives: "ma fille" = my daughter

    [deactivated user]

      so how would you say gal?


      I believe, "Jeune fille"

      [deactivated user]

        but that would be "young girl"


        You can translate "gal" by "fille" in an informal context unless you're talking about your girlfriend. In that case it could be "ma meuf" (it's the word "femme" but backwards, what we call "verlan", a type of slang). However, not every girl might be happy to be called that so be careful ;)

        [deactivated user]

          if I'm talking about feminin objects,shouldn't it be "elle y a"?

          • 1485

          no, it's always impersonal "il"


          But u cant talk to them bcoz they speak french


          What is y and isnt a just for singular nouns?

          • 1485

          you're not the first to comment here ...


          Please read the whole thread.


          And why is my sentence not accepted? "There are some of the girls". Before, I got it wrong because I didn't put the 'of the' part. I think that this is a mistake from Duolingo


          "there are some of the girls" = "il y a certaines des filles"


          I put "there are some of the girls" too and it was wrong though it said you could put that in the answer


          Where.... where??? :D


          Well, did you report it? Anyways the sentence did not have le/la or whatever "of" is in french, so it would make sense that it doesn't work. D'accord, they should fix that.


          Can we say il y a filles?

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