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"

Moderator note: multiple threads merged to create this one
Last edited by a moderator:
  • 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)
    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.
    < Previous | Next >