I've found this phrase in one of my games, but I don't know what is the "-y" for

"Affectez-y 10 citoyens pour produire des matériaux de construction."

  • If you could provide us with more context, it'd be easier. It refers to a place most likely. If there are any instructions previous to that, it's probably referring to placing 10 citizens/villagers in the place where you can produce construction materials. Jun 23, 2016 at 5:59
  • In the english version it asks me to place 10 workers in this scierie , also found this other phrase: "Le niveau de la scierie détermine le nombre maximal de travailleurs pouvant y produire des ressources." is it saying "the maximum of workers that can work HERE"? Jun 23, 2016 at 6:02
  • Yes. "Y" basically means à + un lieu. "Le niveau de la scierie détermine le nombre maximal de travailleurs qui peuvent produire des ressources à la scierie." Jun 23, 2016 at 6:09
  • You helped me a lot, if you wish the points, put it as an answer. thx gl Jun 23, 2016 at 6:21
  • No problem. But you might find this question helpful and I believe yours has been already answered there: french.stackexchange.com/questions/66/… Jun 23, 2016 at 6:30

2 Answers 2


-y is used to avoid repetition by referring to a previously mentioned entity.

Construisez une usine.

Affectez-y 10 citoyens pour produire des matériaux de construction.

Here -y refers to une usine mentioned in the previous sentence. So the sentence means:

Affectez à l'usine que vous avez construite 10 citoyens pour produire des matériaux de construction.

In English this would be:

Build a factory.

Assign it 10 citizens to produce building materials.

In English this it has the same usage as -y does in French.


Y is a pronoun.

In your case, y replaces a noun or a noun group introduced by à or its derived forms (aux, au), because the verb affecter (to appoint or to assign, in this context) is used with the à in French.

Affectez 10 citoyens à cette tâche pour produire des matériaux de construction.

The exception to this rule is when the noun is a person.

J'écris à ma mère. → Je lui écris.

Je pense à mon père/ma mère. → Je pense à lui/à elle.

Y should be placed before the verb, but in your example there is an inversion because of the use of the "impératif". Y is therefore placed after the verb with a hyphen for the link.

Note: y is also used to replace a location (introduced by chez, dans, sur, à…), but this is not your case.

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