Articles In French
What is an article?
An article is a word that defines a noun as specific, unspecific or partial. French has three types of articles and they are : definite, indefinite and partitive.
Types of articles in French
The definite article
The indefinite article
The partitive article
The definite article ( the in English. le, la, l' and les in French )
The definite article is used to indicate a specific noun. For the English definite article The, French has four equivalent forms, depending on gender and number of the noun.
Le is used in front of masculine singular nouns
Le stylo(the pen)
Le garçon (the boy)
Le problème (the problem)
Le chien (the dog)
Le football (the football)
La is used with feminine singular nouns
La chaise (the chair)
La table (the table)
La fille(the girl)
La voiture(the car)
L' is used :
In front of a singular noun that starts with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) whether masculine or feminine.
L' ami (the friend(male)
L' amie (the friend(female)
L' université(the university)
L' enfant (the child)
In front of a silent h
L' hotel (the hotel)
L' hopital (the hospital)
Les is used in front of plural nouns, whether they are masculine or feminine and whether they start with a consonant or with a vowel.
Les hopitals (the hospitals)
Les tables (the tables)
Les filles ( the girls)
Les garçon( the boys)
Using the preposition à with le, la, l' and les
À in French can be translated into the English words 'at' or 'to'. When use with the definite articles above, their structure changes
When à is followed by le, both words becomes au
Je vais au Togo I am going to Togo
Je vais au marché I am going to the market.
When à is followed by les, both words become aux
Je vais aux états-unis I am going to America
Je parle aux étudiants I am talking to the students
When à is followed by la or l' , they mentain their original structure.
Je vais à la l'hopital I am going to the hospital.
Il va à la bibliothèque He is going to the library
Je suis à la bibliothèque I am at the library.
Using the preposition de with le, la, l' and les
The French word 'de' means 'of' or 'from' in English. When de is used in a sentence with le, la, l or les, their forms changes slightly.
When de is followed by le, the two worlds becomes du
Du cinéma from/of the cinema
When de is followed by les, both words become des
Des étudiants from/of the students
When de is followed by la or l', the words do not change
De l'hôpital from/of the hospital
De la bibliothèque from/of the library
Indefinite articles ( a or an in English. un, une, des in French)
Indefinite article is used to refer to an unspecific noun. For the English definite articles a and an, French has four equivalents, depending on the gender and number of the noun.
Un is used with a masculine singular nouns
Un garçon (a boy)
Un chien( a dog)
Un chat (a cat)
Une is used for feminine singular nouns
Une voiture (a car)
Une fille ( a girl)
Une amie (a female friend)
Des is used with plural nouns, whether masculine or feminine and whatever letter they begin with.
Des amis (friends)
Des amies( friends)
Des tables (tables)
Partitive articles (some or any in English. du, de la, de l', des in French )
Partitive articles refer to a portion of an uncountable noun. In French, partitive articles take four forms, depending on whether the noun being referred to is masculine or feminine, singular or plural and whether it begins with a consonate or vowel.
Du is used with masculine singular nouns.
Du beurre (some butter)
De la is used with feminine singular nouns.
De la bière (some beer)
De la viande (some meat)
De l' is used with masculine or feminine singular nouns stating with a vowel or a silent h
De l'eau ( some water)
De l'argent (some money)
Des is used in front of masculine or feminine plural nouns and whatever letter they begin with.
Des gâteaux (some cake)