1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. Error for "il y a"


Error for "il y a"

Duolingo seems to give the direct translation of "il y a" as "ago" for some reason when according to one of its' lesson descriptions it means "there is". This is really puzzling.


June 16, 2015


Sorted by top post


The issue is that flashcards are mechanically produced from the hints (French hints for English words on the Fr for En course).

Hints can be one word, like "word" = "mot".
Hints can also regroup words or phrases, like "ago" = "il y a"

Flashcards pick up the most frequent translation for any word.

In this case, there is no other way to translate "ago" to French than using "il y a", so it is no surprise that "il y a" should match "ago" in flashcards, since it is a single hint.

However, the other way around, the most frequent hints for "il y a" are "there is/there are". We are working on a way to "correct" flashcards as well as other parts of the courses, but we are not there yet. Thank you for your patience.

June 16, 2015


"il y a" means also "ago"

Example: "Il a parlé il y a 5 minutes." = "He spoke five minutes AGO."

MORE: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/depuisilya.htm

June 16, 2015


As a word card it makes sense that it's the phrase. Otherwise it would be more of a grammar exercise.

June 16, 2015


I have been "wrong" for answering that "il y a" means "this". How is :"this is" and "there is" differentiated ?

January 19, 2018


If you really need to differentiate "this is" from "that is", you can use:

  • ceci est = this is
  • cela est (hardly ever used because of the sound of it) = that is
  • ça, c'est (spoken French) = that is
January 19, 2018
Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.