Je suis dans le cinéma.
Je suis dans la classe.
Je suis sur le trottoir.

Is there anyway I can replace the objects after "dans" or "sur". I tried to google it but failed to get an answer.


2 Answers 2


With the pronoun y.

Je suis dans le cinéma.

Je suis dans la classe.

Je suis sur le trottoir.

=>J'y suis.

See here for instance:


1 – The French Pronoun Y Replaces A PLACE. A place is introduced by a preposition of place which can be “à” but also “sur, sous, en, au, aux…”:

Je vais à Paris = j’y vais

Je vais en France = j’y vais

Je vais au Japon = j’y vais

Additional staff

Y may retain its original meaning as an adverb, with the sense of there but its position is always of an object pronoun.

Sachant que vous y seriez. Knowing that you would be there.

Paul y a été envoyé. Paul was sent there.

As a pronoun, y represents a thing or things in the Dative or governed by the prepositions à, en, dans. Hence:

On entendait les ordres, mais on n'y obéissait (i.e. les ordres) plus. (obéir à qqch)

La maison n'était pas loin. Elle y a couru.

Il pensait à sa thèse. Il y pensait sans cesse.

Il est impossible de pénétrer dans le château. Il est impossible d'y pénétrer.

Y may be used impersonally, referring to a clause or idea.

S'il gardait le silence, c'est qu'il y était obligé. (Musset)

Watch the difference:

"Nous allons visiter le musée" => Nous allons le visiter.

Le replaces here le musée.

On the contrary,

Nous sommes au musée (à+le) => Nous y sommes (meaning we are there).

For y to replace a noun, the noun must come with a preposition (au musée here).


Nous irons au musée. => Nous y irons.


H. Ferrar: A French Reference Grammar, p. 202.

M. Offold: A Student Grammar of French, p. 184.

See also the threads:

Replacing "le musée" with a pronom in the sentence: " nous allons visiter le musée"

Avoir confiance en, pénétrer dans plus nom et le pronom y

  • But won't it be unclear where exactly am I? Whether i am in or on. like in English when we say i am under or on it
    – Manar
    Commented Dec 10, 2018 at 10:41
  • There is no (regular) way to be sur le cinéma or dans le trottoir so this detail is not necessary.
    – jlliagre
    Commented Dec 10, 2018 at 10:52
  • But a cat for instance can be on or under the table
    – Manar
    Commented Dec 10, 2018 at 10:55
  • 2
    @Manar: When it's really necessary to the understanding, you can add an adverb as in: le chat s'y est mis dessus/dessous/dedans/à coté. But then, y is not strictly necessary in many such cases. Commented Dec 10, 2018 at 15:50
  • @Stéphane Gimenez: Really thank you! That is what I was really asking and searching Google for.
    – Manar
    Commented Dec 10, 2018 at 21:30

As Dimitris answered, you can always use y to refer to a location:

Je suis dans le cinéma.
Je suis dans la classe.
Je suis sur le trottoir.

J'y suis. (I'm there)

If you want to provide more details :

Je suis dedans (I'm inside) (cinema, classe)

Je suis dessus (I'm on the top of it) (trottoir)


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