The use of the single letter "y" and its combination with forms of the verb "aller" is confusing to many French beginners. However, it's really not that difficult. (The picture on the left shows the cover of “On y va!”, a French lesson book used by Swiss high school students in the 80s and 90s.)
Recently, we listed the following uses of “y” in a Facebook post:
"y" = here, there, about it, on it (referring to something that was mentioned)
- "On y va." - Let's go (Lit: We are going [there].)
- "J'y suis, j'y reste." - Here I am (and) here I'm staying.
- "Marseille? Oui, je vais y aller." - Marseille? Yes, I'm going there.
- "Trois jours à Paris! Penses-y!" - Three days in Paris! Think about it!
- "Le pont d'Avignon? On ne peut plus y danser." - Avignon Bridge? You can't dance on it any more.
- "La Tour Eiffel? Est-ce que tu y es déjà monté?" - The Eiffel Tower? Did you already go up on it?
Moreover, you can combine various forms of the verb “aller” (to go) and “y” (there) to create commands that are commonly used in daily life.
An excellent explanation of these commands can be found in Speak French Fluently and on
French Conversation – How to use Vas-y, Allez-y And Allons-y by Stanley Aléong
Let us know any comments or questions you have and - keep on learning.
You want to know what "On ne peut plus y danser, mais on peut encore l’admirer." mean in French? Just click HERE.