French lessons - French grammar - The Pronouns: en and y - Learn French
Learn french online, French courses, French classes, French school









LEARN FRENCH IN A FUN AND RELAXING ATMOSPHERE WITH OUR ONLINE LESSONS ON SKYPE!!


FRENCH GRAMMAR POINTS

The Pronouns: en and y
We hear them and we see them everywhere.
How do we use them?

1)En
Let's first start by defining en.
As a pronoun (be sure not to confuse it with the preposition en ) it is used for many reasons and in many contexts. Here are the most important ones.

En is a pronoun that replaces de or an indefinite determiner such as du , de l' , de la , des + a noun; en can be translated as ‘some' or ‘of it', or ‘not any' in a negative context. It is most often used for indefinite quantities of something, but can also be used to replace the preposition de + a noun (but not a person) in many expressions where verbs are followed by de .

Note: en is placed in front of the verb.

Examples :
Voulez-vous du café ? = Would you like some coffee?
Oui, j'en veux ! = Yes, I would like some!
Voulez-vous un peu de sucre dans votre café ? = Would you like some sugar in your coffee?
Non merci, je n'en veux pas = No thank you, I don't want any.
Est-ce que vous vous souvenez du dernier café que vous avez pris avec moi ? = Do you remember the last coffee you took with me?
Oui je m'en souviens ! = Yes I remember!
Avez-vous parlé de vos vacances ? = Did you talk about your holidays?
Oui, nous en avons parlé pendant toute la soirée = Yes, we talked about them all evening.
Il adore discuter de politique = He loves discussing politics.
Ah oui, il m'énerve ! Il en discute tout le temps! = Ah, yes, he really bugs me! He discusses it all the time.

When using en with the imperative (command form), en is placed after the verb, as in this example:
Prenez du café ! Prenez-en = Take/have some coffee!

However, if the command is negative, en goes back in front of the verb:
Ne m'en parle plus ! = Don't talk to me about it any more!

French GrammarGoing to France soon?
Do Not Miss
our New Very Useful Audio
e-book or paper book!


Special introductory price!!


Click here for information and sample


If there is an expression of quantity like beaucoup de (a lot of), peu de (a little of) or a number, then en will replace the noun but the modifier or the number will be placed at the end of the sentence.

For example:
Veux-tu un peu de crème dans ton café ? = Do you want some cream in your coffee?
Oui, j'en veux bien un peu, merci ! = Yes, I would like some, thank you!
Aimerais-tu deux ou trois biscuits ? = Would you like two or three cookies?
Oh, j'en veux trois, s'il te plaît ! = Oh, I would like three (of them) please!
As-tu un dictionnaire français chez toi ? = Do you have a French dictionary in your home?
Oui j'en ai un ! = Yes I have one (of them).

Note: En usually cannot replace de + verb .

Examples :
J'ai décidé de prendre ce travail – J'ai décidé de le prendre. = I decided to take this work – I decided to take it.
J'ai essayé de mettre la robe – Je l'ai essayée. = I tried to put on the dress I tried it on.

Finally, you will find en in some everyday expressions – they are very useful to learn!

The French use them quite frequently:
Je m'en vais ! = I'm leaving!
J'en ai assez ! = I've had enough!
J'en ai marre ! = I'm fed up!
Je m'en fiche ! = I don't care!
Je n'en peux plus ! = I can't handle this anymore!
Ne vous en faites pas ! = Don't you worry about it! (a negative command)
Je lui en veux, ou j'en veux à… ! = I cannot forgive him, or I am upset with…!

Grammar French Basics
New 2017 Edition
Special Price this month!
French grammar e-bookFind many more grammar points in our
"Grammar French Basics"
e-book with
more than
170 exercises!


Click here for information and sample


Do Not Miss this month Offer!
Only $4.99! Only 4.90 €!
Alternative to PayPal
credit card payment US$ only
Only $4.99!
Pay now

 

2) Y
Y is a pronoun that replaces a place, usually a prepositional phrase beginning with à , chez , dans , etc. You can translate y by ‘there'. Even though you don't need to add ‘there'systematically in English, you will need it in French.

Check the following examples:
Est-ce que tu vas chez Annick aujourd'hui? – Oui j'y vais ! = Are you going to Annick's place today ? Yes I'm going (there).
Nous allons au marché – Vous voulez y aller ? = We're going to the market Would you like to go (there)?

Note: If the verb happens to be venir, ‘to come', then you will need to replace what follows it by en , not y ! Why? Because when speaking about location, venir is always followed with the preposition de.

French lessons by email

The other use of y is when a verb is followed by the preposition à before a noun (not a person though). This is tricky as this means that you have to know which verbs are normally followed by à . To start, it is good to know a few of these verbs that you are most likely to use when speaking.

For example:
Penser à = to think of/to think about
Je pense à mes vacances ! – J' y pense. = I'm thinking about my Holidays I'm thinking of them.
Répondre à = to respond to Je réponds à mes e-mails – J' y réponds . = I'm replying to/answering my emails I'm replying to/answering them.

But : Je réponds à Jean – Je lui réponds . = I'm answering John I'm answering him (John is a person and can't be replaced by y ).

Participer à = to participate in
Je participe à ce film – J' y participe. = I'm participating in this movie I'm participating in it.

Note: Y usually cannot replace à + verb!

For example:
Je pense à faire ce travail – Je pense à le faire. = I'm thinking about doing this job I'm thinking about doing it.

French learning material


Back to grammar