voilà / voici


Senior Member
Hi everybody!

What is the difference between voila` and voici?


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  • OlivierG

    Senior Member
    France / Français
    The difference between "voici" and "voilà" is the same as between "here" and "there", or "this" and "that".
    "Voici ma maison" = here is my house
    "Voilà ma maison" = that is my house

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    Hello Shingyip56

    I might be wrong but my guess would be

    Voici: is used when you are pointing at an object.

    Ex: Voici le livre dont je te parlais. (you show the book while you say this)

    Voilà: is used when you talk about a concept...something more abstract, when your pointing out a fact.

    Ex: Il y avait beaucoup de traffic. Voilà la raison pour laquelle je suis en retard.

    Hope it help


    Senior Member
    "voici "refers to what you're going to say : "voici la raison de mon retard : il y avait de la circulation"
    "voilà" refers to what you've just said :"il y avait de la circulation, voilà pourquoi je suis en retard"
    In spoken language we tend to use "voilà" in any case

    Jean-Michel Carrère

    Senior Member
    French from France
    In some cases, voici may imply that the thing / person shown / pointed at / referred to is nearer to the speaker than the one referred to after voilà.

    However, in most cases, voici is simply used in correlation with voilà.
    e.g. : Voici Alain, notre fils, et voilà Karine, notre fille. / Voici ma clé, et voilà la vôtre.


    New Member
    China - Cantonese & Madarin
    So, voilà means here is/are
    and voici means there is/are , am I right?

    also, does it mean that voilà usually refers to a physical object (a person, a pen...etc) while voici refers to both physical object and concepts??


    Senior Member
    The v is pronounced in both voici and voilà.

    French people nowadays use indiscriminately both terms, but there used to be a difference in meaning similar to the one between ici and là.


    English - American
    what about "voilà" in the context of "and so", or "yeah" ? as an example:

    Je ne pourrais plus supporter ma mère, et voilà, c'est pour ça que je suis venu ici.

    i hear the "v" as more of a "w" sound. is that just one of the tricky sounds that's pronounced but foreigners can't actually hear the difference?


    Senior Member
    I never heard of voilà being pronounced woilà...

    Also, keep in mind that French people use Voilà! in that sense less often than American people do ;)


    Senior Member
    France French
    You'll hear "ouala" for voilà sometimes, in (parisian and) banlieue speak. It sounds like the Arabic oath Wa Allah al adime / oualah el azim. Takes the meaning of "swear to god it's the truth" on top of the "Voilà" you know.


    Senior Member
    i hear the "v" as more of a "w" sound. is that just one of the tricky sounds that's pronounced but foreigners can't actually hear the difference?
    The v is pronounced v, as always, it is never a mute consonant.
    But the "oi" vowels are pronounced [wa], like it is the rule in French.
    So you pronounce the word [vwala].


    Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)
    English - USA
    In its literal sense, one hears voilà much more used than voici, regardless of the proximity of the thing being pointed out. This differs from English, which would use here is or there is fairly clearly according to proximity.


    Senior Member
    USA English
    As you said, voici and voilà are readily mixed today. When I first came over and made my very first phone call in French, I was totally lost when the person replied "Il n'est pas là". I was very serious about the difference between ici and là...
    I tried to say: "I know he's not with me but is he there with you". This lasted a few minutes, I must admit!


    Senior Member
    Ok, it says that voilà only refers to things that are farther away (there is/are),
    while voici is used for close things (here is/are), plus voilà can be
    used more widely, for example, instead of ago (voilà trois heures),
    and to say "that is why" (Voilà pourquoi je suis parti), and to sums
    things up, at the end of the sentence, and to use it instead of yes,
    like agreement.

    But, if so, how come I can say "Voilà votre livre",
    when I give you your book, when I have it in my hands and offer it to
    you, so the book is not father away, right? It's here, right now, in
    my hands and you are talking it? So, there is no difference at all,
    then, and you can use both words, besides, of course, the wide meaning
    of voilà, as above?

    If they are the same in the narrow meaning of use, why to have two
    different words at all?


    English (Yorkshire)
    You have the same use in English of "here you are" and "there you are" when handing something over, they are interchangeable.

    There is probably a subjective element in their use as with "this" and "that", but I have never given it much thought.


    Senior Member
    France French
    all is subjectivity in this case
    I personally never use "voici", and I don't know why! I find it maybe sounding too formal, which is a bit silly I admit
    so, whether the object is far or near, I always use "voilà"
    do other natives think like me?


    Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)
    English - USA
    Voilà is used much more often than voici

    This is parallel to the French preference for over ici, whereas English will always prefer here to there in any reference to proximity.

    This thread in the Forum Français Seulement discusses this distinction in more detail.


    England - French
    when talking about duration since an event are voici and voilà interchangeable or is one correct and the other incorrect - for example
    Voici trente ans que je suis marin or Voilà trente ans que je suis marin. which is correct. An explanation would be most welcome


    Senior Member
    In your particular context, I don't find 'voici' et 'voilà' interchangeable. It's maybe the same thing in English between 'there is...' and 'here is...'. If you take a different example, like :
    'Me voici marin à présent' or 'Me voilà marin à présent', these 2 phrases are interchangeable, even if 'voilà' is again more used, 'voici' having the meaning of 'right here, right now'.


    Senior Member
    Ce n'est pas pour pinailler, mais quand le TLFI affirme "voilà [est]utilisable dans tous les cas", il existe des exceptions ! On dira par exemple "Voici venu le temps..." et non "Voilà venu...".


    Senior Member
    french (du Midi de la France)
    En principe voici convient plutôt au futur immédiat et voilà au passé : voici ce que je vais faire, voilà ce que j'ai fait.

    C'est pourquoi il me paraît préférable de dire : voici venu le temps (de faire telle chose) car il est question d'une action située dans le futur.