là / là-bas


Senior Member
English Canada
Merci beacoup,

Bien sur, là-bas, pas bas-là . . .:p

Une autre question: qu'est-ce que la difference entre "là" et "là-bas"

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  • Joelline

    Senior Member
    American English
    là-bas means "over there" (it could also mean "down there" in certain contexts)

    means there; however, in colloquial use, the French often use to mean either here or there.

    Hope this helps,

    I Am Herenow

    Senior Member
    Could someone please explain the difference to me between "là" and "là-bas"? Basically, I need the rule for when one is used and for when the other is used. For instance, which would I use for the following examples:

    "The apples are there."
    "The apples are over there."
    "He lives down there."
    "The school was smaller when I went there."

    Thanks! :)


    Senior Member
    French, France
    ... following examples:

    "The apples are there." les pommes sont là
    "The apples are over there." les pommes sont là-bas
    "He lives down there." il vit en bas (là-bas)
    "The school was smaller when I went there." l'école était plus petit lorsque j'y allais

    Thanks! :)
    I would say the difference is almost the same as between here and there and sometimes you translate there by y instead of là-bas.


    Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)
    English - USA
    just a caution, herenow, that French uses frequently where English would use here.

    I think English is more literal and specific about here/there than is French, which only seems to use là-bas to distinguish a location as farther from là, which could be here or there, depending...


    What's the difference between these two - I thought là-bas was more demonstrative, but a French person corrected me when I said "je n'ai pas passé trop de temps là" and said that:

    "il vaut mieux que tu remplaces , "là" par "là-bas"ce mot indique bien un lieu ,mais dans lequel tu n'y es plus..ou qui est très éloigné. Par exemple..est-il allé en Italie récemment?oui , il est allée là-bas afin d'améliorer son italien.


    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    I've often asked myself the same question.
    To me « là » has more to do with someone's presence somewhere than the actual location.
    For example, « je suis là pour toi » (I'm here for you)
    Je serai là demain (I'll be there tomorrow)

    What do the francophones think?

    I agree with what your French friend said about « là-bas ».


    Spanish - Spain
    Est-ce qu'il y a aucune difference entre eux?

    C'est-à-dire, signifie "there" et aussi là-bas?

    Merci d'avance! :)

    Ps.: S'il vous plaît, n'hésitez pas à me corriger! Je suis en traîn d'apprendre français, et j'en besoin!!


    Senior Member
    English Atlanta, GA USA
    Well, là-bas (≃ over there) is farther away than (≃ there). It's all about the perspective of the speaker. I think the confusion arrives much more with ici and because spoken French tends to use là in a lot of instances in which we'd say here in English. For example, Paul, où es-tu? - Je suis . (Paul, where are you? I'm here.) Ici tends to be used for a very precise, specific location whereas is more general and also a little more vague and evasive. For instance, if a friend might want you to approach them in order to show you something, they might say Viens là (Come here.). On the other hand, if a kid has been mischievous and the parent get very upset because of it, they more likely to say Viens ici (maintenant) ! [Come here (right this instant)!]

    In short, ici and are interchang eable, is more general and more widely used in speech for the two meanings, and là-bas is a significant distance away from the speaker. It's very much like ça/cela (that). It is generally used even when the speaker means ceci (this).


    法语 / French (FR)
    You can also distinguish là-haut/là-bas = up there / down there. However this distinction isn't as usual in French as it in English - I wouldn't mind using là-bas when referring to a place a little higher than where I stand.

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I am reading (attemtping to read) Elise ou la vraie vie.
    Claire Etcherelli.

    Elise has just started work in the factory and asks the bloke showing her around if he knows Lucien, her bother.
    He says "Evidemment je le connais. C'est le grand là-bas. Regradez"

    I don't know if that (c'est le grand là-bas) is a set phrase to describe her brother, or just a way of the bloke pointing out Lucien, on the production line. Any guidance welcome. Thanks.

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Thanks - well that's just a typo! I am famous for them.

    Is the idea that her brother has some status here? Later he is called "grand brun" by the same man.