French Grammar: “IL Y A” + Time (Ago)

French Grammar: "IL Y A" + Time (Ago)

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French Grammar: “IL Y A” + Time (Ago)
la grammaire française: “il y a” et le temps

The expression IL Y A means there is / there are.  But IL Y A  can also be used to tell how long “ago” something happened!

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The expression IL Y A means “there is” or “there are”.  But IL Y A  can also be used to tell how long “ago” something happened!

IL Y A : There is / There are

IL Y A un livre sur la table.
There is a book on the table.

IL Y A trente étudiants dans la classe.
There are thirty students in the class.

IL Y A is also used with time expressions to mean “ago”. No matter how long “ago” something happened, you can use IL Y A. This can be used for seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, or even years!

IL Y A combien de temps?
How long ago?

IL Y A deux ans.
Two years ago.

IL Y A six mois.
Six months ago.

IL Y A quarante ans.
Forty years ago.

IL Y A cinq minutes.
Five minutes ago.

IL Y A peu (de temps).
A short time ago. / Not long ago.

IL Y A quelque temps.
A while ago.

IL Y A longtemps.
A long time ago.

IL Y A des années.
Years ago.

IL Y A belle lurette.
Ages ago.

Adapt:

Il y a combien de temps qu’ils sont partis?
How long ago did they (masculine) leave?

Ils sont partis il y a deux jours.
They left two days ago.

Vous avez obtenu votre diplôme il y a combien d’ans?
How many years ago did you (formal) earn your degree?

J’ai obtenu mon diplôme il y a six ans.
I earned my degree six years ago.

Il y a combien d’heures que l’avion a atterri?
How many hours ago did the plane land?

L’avion a atterri il y a une heure.
The plane landed an hour ago.

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