The Impersonal Expression Il Y A

Impersonal expressions are phrases where there isn’t a real subject. For instance, in the phrase “It is snowing” (Il neige), “it” doesn’t refer to anything. It’s a dummy subject that exists just to maintain the sentence structure.

One of the most common impersonal expressions is il y a, which is an idiom for “there is” or “there are”.

  • Il y a une fille ici. — There is a girl here.
  • Il y a un serpent dans ma botte ! — There’s a snake in my boot!

You will learn more about impersonal expressions in “V. Pres 1”.