How to use the pronoun "y" in French

How to use y in French

"Y" is one of the most confusing concepts when learning French. In this article, I will show you the logic behind its uses through some examples and expressions.

3 Different uses of "y" 

1) Y replaces a place

It is usually introduced by a preposition of a place such as "à", "dans, "sur", etc. Let's look at these examples:

  • Je vais à Montréal. (I'm going to Montreal.)

J'y vais. (I'm going there.)

  • Elle reste dans sa chambre. (She is staying in her bedroom.)

Elle y reste. (She is staying there.)

*** Y usually precedes the verb.

2) Y replaces a thing

It is usually introduced by "à", "au", "aux", etc.

  • Tu as réfléchi à ce problème? (Did you think about this problem?)

Oui, j'y ai réfléchi. (Yes, I thought about it.)

  • Tu réponds au téléphone? (Are you answering the phone?)

Non, je n'y réponds pas. (No, I'm not answering it.)

*** In the past tense and negative sentences, "y" still precedes the verb.

3) Y is used with expressions

There are a lot of French expressions with "y". Here, we will cover the most common ones. 

  • J'y vais (I'm going there)
  • On y va! (Let's go!)                                                                                           
  • Allons-y! (Let's go!)
  • Ça y est (All done, that's it)
  • J'y suis (I'm here)

5 Useful Expressions with "y"

Do you know other French expressions with "y"? Let me know in the comments below.

Check this article to use how to use the pronoun "en" in French.

Let's practice!

Respond the following questions by using "y" or "en".

1) Tu vas à l'université demain?

2) Il sait jouer de la guitare?

3) Tu as de l'argent? 

4) Tu veux aller au cinéma?

5) Tu viens de la banque? 

Check your answers

1) Oui, j'y vais. / Non, je n'y vais pas

2) Oui, il en joue bien. /Non, il n'en joue pas.

3) Oui, j'en ai. / Non, je n'en ai pas.

4) Oui, je veux y aller. / Non, je ne veux pas y aller.

5) Oui, j'en viens. / Non, je n'en viens pas. 


About Umut

Umut French Teacher

I have been teaching French to adults for more than 5 years in Canada. I'm a certified French teacher, and I'm currently PhD Candidate in French Studies at Western University. I love reading, travelling and learning new languages. 
I've created unique downloadable learning materials focusing primarily on improving speaking and understanding in French.
I'm also helping thousands of French learners on my Instagram page.
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