The terms la, là, l’a and l’as are all pronounced in the same way but have different meanings.
• La (‘the’) is a definite article used with singular feminine nouns ARTICLES DEFINIS. In order to identify it, we should remember that it can be replaced by une (‘one’, ‘a’ or ‘an’) or cette (‘this’ or ‘that’).
La limace est un animal sympathique. The slug is a likeable animal. (We can also say une limace or cette limace)
• Là is an adverb used to define a place (usually it means ‘there’) or a moment in time (generally it means ‘then’). It is distinguished by the accent grave (à) on the ‘a’. We can also use it in the following ‘that’ or ‘those’ expressions: celui-là (that one), celle-là (that one), ces personnes-là (those people), ces gens-là (those people), ces maisons-là (those houses), etc.
- Tu es où ? - Je suis là ! -Where are you? -I’m here! (là means ‘around here’)
Là, j’ai compris que Victor était immortel. At that point, I understood that Victor was immortal.
Ces gens-là ne respectent rien ! Those people don’t respect anything!
• L’as and l’a are both contractions of the direct object pronouns le and la coupled with two present tense forms of the verb avoir (tu as and il/elle a). In order to identify these forms, just remember that they can be replaced by a form of avoir in another tense.
Mon argent, tu l’as ? My money, do you have it? (We might also say: Mon argent, tu l’auras ?)
Ta voiture ? C’est Victor qui l’a cassée. Your car? Victor broke it. (We might also say: C’est Victor qui l’avait cassée.)
• La is also a direct object pronoun used to replace singular feminine nouns PRONOMS COD. In this form it translates to ‘it’ or her’, so in order to identify it better we just replace it with the original noun form.
Muriel, plus je la connais, plus je la trouve bizarre. Muriel, the more I know her, the more I find her strange. (We might also say: Plus je connais Muriel, plus je trouve Muriel bizarre).