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Explain "il y a un garcon" to me? - French?

Apparently this means "there is a boy." But can someone break it down for me? By my understanding,

il = he

y = "there is" (according to this app)

a = has (he "has")

un garcon = a boy

So this seems like it should be "He there is a boy." Why is "il" at the beginning at all?


Actually, sounds like "He there is has a boy". I would love this explained.

3 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    / il y a/ is a fixed expression meaning there is or there are

    so, you can say - il y a un garçon dehors - there's a boy outside

    il y a cinq garçons chez nous - there are 5 boys in our house

    notice that it is garçon and not garcon

    using the same expression

    breakdown - il , personal pronoun, = it or he

    y, pronoun = there

    a, third person singular of avoir - has

    so yes, you can break it down to /there it has/ or / it has there/ but just accept it as a fixed expression, meaning there is or there are. You will encounter many more fixed expressions, idioms etc as you go on learning French. A really good grammar book would be a huge help to you - phone apps are pretty simplistic and often wrong [ as is google translate, be very wary of it]

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  • 7 years ago

    You can't translate some things word for word.

    il = in this case, this means "it" not "he"

    y = there

    a = has

    un = a

    garcon = boy

    it has there a boy <-- sounds weird in English, that's why it's just translated as "there is a boy"

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  • 7 years ago

    When translating, you have to realize that some expressions are idiomatic; i.e., you can't and don't translate them word for word. "Il y a" is translated as "there is" whenever you see it.

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