I know the en vs y question is frequently asked but I still don't get it at all...

I thought en would always be used to prevent repeating an "object" which represents a location.

Par exemple:

Donnez-moi une suite au Ritz — je n'en veux pas.

And I thought y was always used for locations.

Par exemple:

J'étais à Paris hier et je veux y aller demain encore une fois.

But now I've heard Indila singing in her song:

Laissez-moi arriver, laissez-moi y croire....

And I cannot really figure out why is y used here instead of en.

Can anybody explain this to me?

  • 2
    For a native French speaker (like me), laissez-moi y croire is the only correct form I can think of. I’m unable to really explain why since it’s so natural. On the other hand, the misusage of ‘y’ is real in some regions, specially in Lyon where it’s overused.
    – Xvolks
    Jun 30, 2019 at 12:51
  • 1
    Does french.stackexchange.com/questions/16893/… answer your question? Jun 30, 2019 at 13:41

1 Answer 1


The pronoun y replaces a complement representing something inanimate introduced by à, or any kind of locative complement.

Like your example shows (je crois à ça : j'y crois), it is not limited to locations.

Je réponds à la question : j'y réponds

  • 3
    To build this out a little more, we might say: en replaces any complement introduced with de, of any kind whatsoever. y replaces (a) some inanimate complements introduced by à and (b) location complements introduced by à, en, dans (if you can think of any others, all the better)
    – Luke Sawczak
    Jun 30, 2019 at 13:28
  • thanks for your answer! But "une suite au ritz" - c'est aussi un à mais ici elle a dit je n'en veux pas
    – messerbill
    Jun 30, 2019 at 14:43
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    Je ne veux pas d 'une suite au Ritz !
    – jlliagre
    Jun 30, 2019 at 14:46
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    @LukeSawczak Any locative complement can be pronominalised by y, the preposition used doesn't matter much so long as it's not de. Je me suis assis sur le banc : je m'y suis assis, j'ai réservé une chambre hors de la ville : j'y ai réservé une chambre. Of course, other options are preferred to this locative y in spoken French, but in the formal language, it can and does refer to every kind of locative complement Jun 30, 2019 at 19:32
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    @jlliagre > It's not a dialog, that's the first sentence of the song "Je veux", by Zaz
    – Laurent S.
    Jul 1, 2019 at 10:19

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