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All the French Articles You Need to Know

All the French Articles You Need to Know

Learn French articles in 15 minutes! Articles are these little words before a noun. In French, they are different depending on the gender and number of the noun.

We have 3 different types of French articles:
– Indefinite French articles – Un Une Des
– Definite French articles – Le La Les
– Partitive French articles – Du De la Des

Let’s see how and when to use them. Don’t forget to download your free PDF!

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    All the French Articles You Need to Know

    Gender of Nouns – Le genre des noms

    French nouns have genders. They are either masculine or feminine. They are also influenced by numbers. Knowing the gender of each word is important when learning French. When learning new vocabulary, make sure to learn the article with the noun always to remember the gender.

    Indefinite Articles – Les articles indéfinis – Un Une Des
    Indefinite articles change depending on if the noun is masculine, feminine, singular, or plural.

    We use them to talk about unspecified things or people. They translate to a, an, and some in English.

    SINGULAR

    Masculine

    Feminine

    Un
    a/an

    Une
    a/an

    Un chien
    a dog

    Une pomme
    an apple

    Un oiseau
    a bird

    Une orange
    an orange

    PLURAL

    Masculine

    Feminine

    Des
    some/any

    Des
    some/any

    Des chiens
    dogs
    Des pommes
    apples
    Des oiseaux
    birds

    Des oranges
    oranges

    J’ai un chien.
    I have a dog.

    Elle mange une pomme.
    She is eating an apple.

    Il y a des oiseaux dans le jardin.
    There are birds in the yard.

    The articles un – une – des don’t change if the following noun starts with a vowel or a consonant. This is why I always recommend using un and une when learning new vocabulary because you can see the gender clearly when you study.

    Definite Articles – Les articles définis – Le La L’ Les

    Definite articles, just like indefinite articles, change depending on whether the noun is masculine, feminine, singular, or plural.

    We use definite articles to talk about specific things or people. They translate to the in English.

    SINGULAR

    Masculine

    Feminine

    Le / L’
    the
    La / L’
    the
    Le chien
    the dog
    La pomme
    the apple
    L’oiseau
    the bird

    L’orange
    the orange

    PLURAL

    Masculine

    Feminine

    Les
    some/any

    Les
    some/any

    Les chiens
    the dogs
    Les pommes
    the apples
    Les oiseaux
    the birds

    Les oranges
    the oranges

    When a word starts with a vowel or a silent h, LE and LA become L’.

    Le chien dort.
    The dog is sleeping.

    La pomme est sur la table.
    The apple is on the table.

    J’écoute les oiseaux chanter.
    I listen to the birds sing.

    When and How to Use French Definite Articles?
    • French definite articles are used mostly the same way as in English:
    L’école ouvre à 10 heures.
    The school opens at 10 a.m.

    But sometimes they are used differently:

    • With abstract nouns for things that you can’t touch:

    Le temps passe vite.
    Time flies. (Literally, time passes fast)

    • With concrete nouns (things that you can touch) when talking about them in a general way:

    Les chiens aiment jouer à la balle.
    Dogs love to play with balls.

    • With languages and school subjects:

    On étudie le français.
    We study French.

    Added note:
    Je parle français / Je parle le français = I speak French.

    In this case, both are fine.

    • With continents, countries, and provinces:

    L’Afrique est un continent.
    Africa is a continent.

    • With quantities and prices:

    Cela coûte 10 dollars le kilo.
    It costs 10 dollars per kilo.

    • With dates and days of the week. For days of the week, we only use it to talk about something that you do regularly:

    Elle travaille le lundi.
    She works on Mondays.

    • With parts of the body:

    Je me brosse les cheveux.
    I am brushing my hair.

    Partitive Articles – Les articles partitifs – Du De la De l’ Des

    We use partitive articles to talk about something without specifying the quantity. They translate to some.

    Partitive articles have specific forms for gender and number.

    Masculine Singular
    Du (de + le) + masculine noun starting with a consonant:

    Du fromage – some cheese
    Du pain – some bread

    Feminine Singular
    De la + feminine noun starting with a consonant:

    De la farine – some flour
    De la viande – some meat

    Masculine & Feminine Singular
    De l’ + masculine or feminine noun starting with a vowel or a silent h:

    De l’eau (f) – some water
    De l’ail (m) – some garlic

    Plural
    Des (de + les) + masculine or feminine noun but plural:

    Des idées (f) – some ideas
    Des livres (m) – some books

    J’ai acheté des livres.
    I bought some books.

    Je mange du fromage tous les jours.
    I eat cheese every day.

    Elle a des idées.
    She has ideas.

    Note:
    Partitive articles become de/d’ in negative sentences.

    Je n’ai pas acheté de livres.
    I didn’t buy any books.

    Je ne mange pas de fromage tous les jours.
    I don’t eat cheese every day.

    Elle n’a pas d’idées.
    She has no ideas.

    And just like that, All the French Articles You Need to Know have no more secrets for you! Don’t hesitate to comment on this post if you have a question.

    If you prefer to watch a video lesson, you can watch the video All the French Articles You Need to Know.

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    About Dylane

    Dylane is the owner & founder of “The perfect French with Dylane”, a YouTube channel and website where she teaches students from all around the world all the aspects of the French language.

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