Articles in French

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Articles in French


  • Definite and indeterminate articles (definite and indefinite)
  • Determined article
  • Contraction of determined articles
  • Presence of the article
  • Absence of the article
  • Determined article
  • Oral Language

In this post we have considered it appropriate to talk about the articles in French . Learn to identify and use them correctly and thus improve your written and oral expression. The articles ( les articles , in French) precede the nouns stating their gender (masculine or feminine) and number (singular or plural). The articles can be determinate ( le, la, les ) or indeterminate ( un, une, des ).

Learn the rules of use of the definite and indefinite articles in French thanks to our simple and clear explanations accompanied by examples.

Definite and indeterminate articles (definite and indefinite)

The difference between definite and indefinite articles is, therefore, in the object or person that is designated. If objects or people are known and identified, definite articles are used. On the contrary, if objects or people are not known or identified, the undefined are used.

Determined article

 Gender and number:

Male                 Le + vowel Them
Female              La + h mute Them
  • Le mur blanc / l’orage brutal / les nueages légers
  • The white wall / the terrible storm / the vaporous nines
  • Le matin lumineux / l’année prochaine / les dents longues                 
  • The bright morning / the year to come / the long teeth
  • La mer cruelle / l’escalier étroit / les amis dévoués
  • The cruel sea / the narrow staircase / the devoted friends
  • La pensée créatrice / l’armoire neuve / les objets perdus
  • Creative thinking / the new wardrobe / lost objects

Article + h aspirated: the “liaison” is not done

  • le hall de l’édifice …………….  the building lobby
  • Le héros de roman …………….  the hero of the novel
  • le hasard providentiel …………….  providential chance
  • la hâte regrettable …………….  the sorry rush
  • the hanche fracturée …………….  fractured hip

 Contraction of determined articles

à + le> AU         de + le  > SU
à + le> AUX       De+les  > DES
  • Le lit> il va au lit tout de suite ( à + le ) / He goes to bed right away.
  • Le lycée> il sort du Lycée très tôt ( de + le ) / Leaves the Institute very early
  • Le cours de français> elle ne peut pas assister aux cours (à + les) / French classes> cannot attend classes

Presence of the article

Geographic names (continents, countries, provinces)

  • L ‘Amerique est immense (America is immense)
  • La Gascogne et une province riche (Gascony is a rich province)
  • LE Maroc est encore sauvage (Morocco is still wild)

Before the relative superlative:

  • le jour le plus beau , the most beautiful day
  • le travail le plus serieux , the most serious work
  • la conférence la most intéressante , the most interesting conference

Some twists:

  • Avoir le droit de .., have the right to …
  • Avoir le temp de … have time to …

Indeterminate time expressions:

  • à + le = au )
  • Au debut, au milleu, à la fin de l’anne, at the beginning, in the middle, at the end of the year
  • Pour la première fois , for the first time

Absence of the article


  • À six-neuf an sil avait déjà are diplôme . / At the age of nineteen he already had his diploma
  • à soixante ans .., at sixty years old …

The time:

  • il est // deux heures . It’s two o’clock.
  • Il est // sep heures et demie . It is half past seven

The days of the week:

  • Venez // lundi prochain . Come next monday
  • Il is arrivé // dimanche dernier . Came last sunday

However, the article appears in:

Usual fact:

  • L e lundi matin beaucoup de magasins sont fermés en France. / On Monday morning many shops are closed in France.

Temporal space determined by the following segment:

  • Les samedis matin dont tu m’as souvent parlé. / The Saturday mornings you have told me about many times.

Temporary expressions like:

  • Demain // matin,   tomorrow morning
  • Hier // soir, last night.

Nouns previously determined by a possessive (Old French)

  • Madame Gaudy , Mrs. Gaudy
  • Mesdemoiselles G… ,… the ladies G… the ladies of G…

Compare with:

  • J’ai saluted the dame du cinquième , I greeted the lady of the fifth.
  • Les demoiselles du chàteau , the ladies of the castle
  • Monsieur le Président , the President
  • Madame la Directrice,  Madam Director
  • Madame le Recteur, The Rector Lady

Indefinite article

SINGULAR un libre
(a book)
une maison
(a house)
PLURAL des libres
des maisons

The “s” in des is not pronounced. If the next word begins with a silent vowel oh, then it is pronounced with a loud sound.

In plural must always be used des .

Oral language

Masculine singular + noun that begins with a vowel:

  • Un :
    • amour d’enfant
    • énoncé simple
    • homme courageux
    • outil de travail
    • usage fréquent

Plural + noun that begins with a vowel.

  • DES
    • académiciens renommés
    • esprots forts
    • homophones sonores
    • instituteurs bienveillants
    • opinions malsaines

 Use of the plural article.

Ils ont acheté DES Livres in France
Elles irrdent DES Films à la télévision
Marc venbd DES Lampes
Je cherche DES Meubles anciens

(They have bought books…. They watch movies… Marco sells lamps, I look for furniture…)

Use of the indeterminate article with some indefinite ones:

  • un autre jour , another day
  • Il n’a pas d ‘ autres chaussures . Has no other shoes
  • une certain sourire , a certain smile
  • une certaine fréquence , a certain frequency
  • un semblable event, such an event
  • une demi-heure , half an hour
  • Ce train met une heure et demie . This three hour and a half

Is this all a review prior to an official exam? Great! Here we leave you the closest calls.

¡Compártelo con quien tu quieras!

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