En vs Y in French

En and Y, two little words but very useful, they are used for a noun or a noun phrase in sentences like:

the video is here: click

The exercise is here: click

Je réponds à ton email: j’y réponds
I am replying to your email: I am replying to it

Je parle de ma maison: j’en parle
I am talking about my house: I am talking about it

the question is when and how to use them.

1- Y

“Y” for things and animals

Prends garde au chien: Prends-y garde
Be careful with the dog:  be careful with it

Elle pense aux vacances: Elle y pense
She is thinking about her holiday: she is thinking about it

The Rule: “Y” can replace a noun or a noun phrase in a sentence where the verb introduces them with the word “à”

Répondre à, aller à , penser à…

You need to know the verbs in French to use “y” correctly.

2- En

“En” for things, animals and people

Charles parle de ses amis: Charles en parle
Charles is talking about his friends: Charles is talking about them

Que penses-tu de ce livre? Qu’en penses-tu?
What do you think of this book? What do you think of it?

The Rule: “En” can replace a noun or a noun phrase in a sentence where the verb introduces them with the word “de”

Parle de, penser de, jouer de…

3- More rules

“En” represents a part of a bigger quantity or number of something

J’ai acheté des fraises  J’en ai acheté
Je n’ai pas d’argent  Je n’en ai pas
Je n’ai pas d’eau  Je n’en ai pas
J’ai pris des livres  J’en ai pris

En also works with singular countable words: J’ai acheté une voiture = j’en ai acheté une (we add “une” or “un” at the end to be sure we are not talking about several cars)

Y also means “there” or “here”

Je reste là or J’y reste

J’y suis, j’y reste

Pay attention to the name of countries: With feminine ones, we use “en”: je vais en France, but we will say “j’y vais”, no problem with masculine countries: je vais à Cuba: j’y vais.

4- Idiomatic Expressions

Expressions with “y” and “en”:

There is: il y a

Ça y est: here it is, done it!

En avoir assez: to be fed up or to get enough


S’en aller: je m’en vais: I am off, I go away

Va-t-en: go away!

Y aller: to go there, to be off: j’y vais

Vas-y: go!

The exercise is here: click

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8 thoughts on “En vs Y in French

  1. Pingback: En vs Y in French M CIKU 词库

  2. Denise

    Thank you so very much for this video.  I took French for 4 1/2 years (1978 – 1983) and have completely forgotten when and how  to use “y” and “en”, since I have not had occasion to use French in such a very long time.  Especially before the internet.  Your explanation/demonstration really helped me.
    Again, thank you very much.

  3. Mounir-DZ

    Salut !
    very useful videos!
    i’ve learned a lots from ur videos . i like the way of your teaching simple & clear !
    au revoir !

  4. Debby

    Fantastic videos and demonstrations, very simplified and easy to understand.
    Merci beaucoup et au revoir!!!

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