FRENCH (IN)DEFINITE ARTICLES

FRENCH (IN)DEFINITE ARTICLES

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Added by March 3, 2014

FRENCH ARTICLES

Learn French definite & indefinite articles

DELF NIVEAU A1

Articles are little words that are placed before nouns. There are definite articles and indefinite articles. In English, they are respectively “THE”, and “A” or “AN”. And that’s it! Guess what… the French language is that much more complicated since each article is going to agree in gender and number with the noun it refers to. Let’s have a closer look at those little troublemakers! 

DEFINITE ARTICLES

Here is the list of French definite articles:

  • LE + masculine (Ex. Le chat)
  • LA + feminine (Ex. La femme)
  • L’ + noun starting with a vowel sound (Ex. L’homme)
  • LES + plural (both masc. & fem.) (Ex. Les chats, les femmes, les hommes)

Their use is similar to that of the English “THE”. They generally help to refer to something unique and/or clearly defined by the context as shown in the following examples: 

Moon

  • La lune est belle ce soir. (The moon is pretty tonight.)
  • La fille qui est avec moi est blonde. (The girl who’s with me is blond.)

Careful though because in French we also use definite articles when expressing a general statement…

  • lecerf3La nourriture française est sophistiquée. (French food is sophisticated.) 

… when expressing a like or dislike…

  • J’adore le chocolat mais je déteste la confiture! (I love chocolate but I hate jam.)

 …We also use definite articles in front of names of countries.

  • La France est très touristique, et le Maroc aussi. (France is very touristic, and Morocco too.)

 

INDEFINITE ARTICLES

Here they are!

  • UN + masculine (Ex. Un homme, Un chat)PetitChat
  • UNE + feminine (Ex. Une femme)
  • DES + Plural (Ex. Des hommes, des chats, des femmes)

Indefinite articles are the direct translations of A and AN.

Where does the difficulty lie then? In remembering that in French, we place an indefinite article in front of plural nouns – which is obviously not the case in English. Here are a few examples.

  • Ce sont des hommes et des femmes drôles. (They are funny men and women.)

That’s it, you can now rock and roll with those!

Soraya Garre, French actressMlle Soso

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