72 Comments This discussion is locked.
"il y a" is a fixed expression which mostly means "there is / there are".
In these cases it is followed either by an indefinite article + noun:
Il y a un chat. - There is a cat.
Il y a des enfants. - There are (some) children.
by a number + noun:
Il y a deux pommes. - There are two apples.
or by an indefinite pronoun:
Il y a quelqu'un. - There is someone.
It's just something particular about the language that you have to learn. Sometimes a language uses the same words to say different things, and sometimes it uses different words to describe the same thing. It may drive us nuts, but it's also what's fun about languages. =)
"y" means there which may help remembering the "there is/are".
negin- If you ask me : your sister has a boy or a girl? I'll say : elle a une fille, because we're talking about my sister who possesses/has a daughter. In the expression that we have to translate, nobody possess this girl, it's just saying that a girl exists somewhere, this is neutral, il y a is always with : il
Il a means, more or less, "he/it has..." The object pronoun "y" can often replace a location (usually if it's preceded by the locational proposition "à"). Thus, "Il y a" makes sense as "there is" if you think of it in terms of the pronoun "there" representing a location (which you should, anyway).
Think of "Il y a" translating as "there, it has (a girl)."
Where I am disappointed in this phrase is that "une" can mean both "a" AND "one." Why doesn't Duolingo recognize that?
Il = impersonal, (as in the English "it" in "it is hot", impersonal: none makes the action) Be carefuel, it has nothing to do with the other "il", the personal pronoun meaning "he".
y = not really a regular word, rather a location indicator. Not common, except in some expression, and to express location when you say "I will be there" = "J'y serais". (I + there + will be). You can say also: Je serais là, it's easier.
a = here "to have" is used instead of the English "to be", but means the same.
Il + y + a = "Il y a" = fixed expression (for singular & plural), litterally meaning it/there is here...
There's two kinds of "il" in French.
The "regular" "il" = personal pronoun, meaning "il"
The impersonal "il" meaning "it". Only used when the fixed expression "Il y a" and in when you talk about the weather for instance. Il fait chaud aujourd'hui (it's hot today), il faut beau, il pleut -it's raining, etc... Used with the verb "to do" (faire)
sorry, but for now I think it's easier to answer in portuguese to you.
em inglês "there is" significa literalmente "lá há", ou "lá está", ao pé da letra... quando se diz "there is a girl" é certo dizer "há uma garota"
para traduzir do francês pro português o pensamento é o mesmo.
il y a un chat - lá há um gato il y a une fille - lá há uma garota
Só parece esquisito porque não falamos assim em português
thankyou for the explanation, verygood,,,sometimes we just have to "accept" instead of dissecting, as I would imagine this is how children learn, they just "learn",,,,as an adult , of course, much more difficult as we seem to need an explanation .....I am sure there are many,many examples as confusing to a person learning English!!
I typed this too and had it marked as incorrect. The Google translation I got for "there is a daughter" is "il y a une fille," so I'm not sure why it would be wrong.
I've had some replies before that certain answers I'm giving would be too uncommon, but I think it's a sentence that would be used in real life. "Who did he name in his will? There is a daughter."
I got it correct, but I don't understand exactly the use of "y". & also in this sentence "a" loses the meaning of "has". What is the rule to understand when "a" should be used as has. What exactly is the meaning of "a" in this sentence, does it only make sense in a sentence such as this because of the "y" and "il" i.e "y" and "a" cannot mean "there is " individually without "il" to mean "there is" it has to be used all together to make sense?
Forget the "y", it's only a location indicator.
Reason for the verb "to have":
"Il y a une fille" = litterally,( it you omit the "y") "there" has a girl. It's "there" that possess a girl. You'll notice than very often, French or romance language would use "to have" when English would use "to be", and often, there's no particular reasons.
This has briefly been touched on in the previous comments but can anyone clarify something about the the use of 'il y a' as 'there is'?
In English, 'there is' can mean both that an object exists generally or that it is specifically there at that moment in time; the difference is subtle but important, IMO.
Is the French use of 'il y a' the same as our use of 'there is' with this double meaning made clear only by the context or is it more specific?
Yes, I can't find right now an example where you would use "there is/there are" in English and not "il y a" in French. Please, give us some examples, and we'll tell you if you can use "il y a", but I think it should be ok.
Il y a = general statement = Il y a des enfants qui ne sont pas sages = there are some children who are not wise. They are not here right now, but it means they exist.
Il y a= here and now = Il y a des fleurs rouges dans le jardin = there's red flowers in the garden.
Please, read the comments, I think it had been answered now.
"There is" is only the way the English say it. There's no more reason to have a "there" than a "it" here.
Forget the "y" (location indicator), only memorize the expression "Il y a" as a new word, it's an expression.
Adehkhien: "Il = he, y = ago, a = has, une = a, fille = girl, becomes = "he has a girl ago" but answer was "there's a girl". I dont understand how, please explain."
PERCE_NEIGE: "No "y" is not ago. And "il" is not "he" in this expression. Please, see the comments on this page. The time (ago) has nothing to do there.
But: You can use "il y a" for time (as you would use "hace" in Spanish to mean the same)
Location: Il y a une fille (là, there)
Time: Il y a cinq ans (five year ago)
Yes, this expression can be used to mean "there is/there are" and "ago". (but the whole expression, not the "y" alone!) and it has nothing to do with the sentence "il y a une fille", because "a girl" is not a time.
To sum up:
Il y a + noun = location.
Il y a + time = time. (because, metaphorically, it's a place, in the time)"
Exactly yes :)
Now, I would wonder, how would you say "He has a girl there" (like you know, having locker her in a bedroom when parents unexpectedly visit ;)
As "a" stands for "there", would it be exactly... Il y a une fille? I guess then we just know from the context what the meaning is truly, but correct me if I am wrong.
IL = he/it Y = there A = has (from AVOIR/ to have)
But IL Y A is an expression which states the Existence of Something: There is, There are
- Il y a des livres sur la table – there are some books on the table.
- Il n’y a pas de vin – there is no wine
You can see a lot of similar explanations including the km long writings of Dylanx4 just before this one