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voilà vs. il y a
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1. il y a
  2. voilà

Il y a and voilà are two ways of introducing nouns. They are translated into English as 'there is / there are' or 'here is / here are.'

il y a
Il y a + noun usually indicates the existence of a person or a thing in the context of a particular setting. It is commonly translated as 'there is' or 'there are.' For example:

A Austin, il y a une grande université.   In Austin, there is a big university.
Dans cette université, il y a plusieurs animaux qui parlent le français!   At this university, there are several animals who speak French!
Parmi ces animaux, il y a des tatous, un escargot, une chatte, un écureuil, et plusieurs insectes! Attention!   Among these animals, there are armadillos, a snail, a cat, a squirrel, and several insects! Careful!

neigeThe negation of 'il y a' is il n'y a pas, 'there is / are not'. You will also find these forms: il n'y a plus, 'there is / are not anymore', il n'y a jamais, 'there is / are never'.
A Austin, il n'y a jamais de neige.   In Austin, there is never any snow.
Donc parmi ces animaux francophones, il n'y a pas de pingouin!   So, among these French-speaking animals, there is no penguin!

The verb avoir in the expression il y a may be conjugated in any tense or mood, for example, in the past (il y avait, 'there was') or in the future (il y aura, 'there will be.')

voilà / voici
Voilà + noun and voici + noun are commonly translated as 'here is/are'. They are used to indicate the sudden appearance of something or someone, to introduce people or ideas. Alternating between voici and voilà is common when referring to more than one item.

Tammy montre le campus à Tex: Voici la bibliothèque et voilà la célèbre tour!   Tammy is showing the campus to Tex: Here is the library, and there is the famous Tower.
Tex: Oui, oui ...   Tex: Yes, yes ...
Tammy présente Tex: Tex, voici Joe-Bob et Corey ... et voilà Edouard qui arrive.   Tammy introduces Tex: Tex, here is Joe-Bob and Corey ... and there comes Edouard.
Joe-Bob: Bonjour, Tex.   Joe-Bob: Hello, Tex.
Corey: Salut, Tex.   Corey: Hi, Tex.
Tex: Oh, la, la, de vrais Texans ...   Tex: Oh, la, la, real Texans ...


fill in the blanks
Fill in the blank with either 'il y a' or 'voici'.
1. Tex: ______ une fête ('party') la semaine prochaine.

2. Joe-Bob: ______ une chaise confortable.

3. Tex: ______ un exercice très difficile.

4. Joe-Bob: ______ beaucoup d'étudiants à l'université du Texas.

5. Tex: ______ mon premier livre: Guerre et amour.

6. Bette: ______ un ingrédient secret dans la tarte.

7. Tex: ______ beaucoup de musique country au Texas.

8. Trey: ______ mon skateboard préféré.

9. Bette: ______ le béret de Tex.

10. Tex: ______ un poème érotique. C'est pour toi, Tammy.

11. Joe-Bob: ______ une actrice dans ma classe.

12. ______ un jukebox au restaurant.