Articles – le, la, les, un, une, des, du, de la

French article comparison
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Les articles

One of the eight parts of speech, an article is a word that modifies a noun in a particular way, by stating whether the noun is specific, unspecific, or partial. There are three types of French articles and they all agree in gender and number with the nouns they modify.

1) Definite / Défini

The definite article indicates that the speaker is referring to either a specific noun or to a class of nouns in a general sense. The English definite article, the, has four equivalent forms in French, depending on the gender and number of the noun as well as what letter it begins with.

Singular    Plural
Masculinelele livrethe book lesles livresthe books
Femininelala tablethe tableles tablesthe tables
Vowel or h muetl’l’abricotthe apricotles abricotsthe apricots

Learn more about definite articles

2) Indefinite / Indéfini

The indefinite article indicates that the speaker is referring to either an unspecific noun or to one/some of something. The English indefinite article has two forms, a and an, while the French has three, depending on the gender and number of the noun.

  The English equivalent of des is some, which is considered an adjective rather than an article.

Singular    Plural
Masculineunun abricotan apricot desdes livressome books
Feminineuneune tablea tabledes tablessome tables

Learn more about indefinite articles

3) Partitive / Partitif

The partitive article indicates that the speaker is referring to only a portion or some of an uncountable noun, often food or drink. There are four forms in French, depending on the gender and number of the noun as well as what letter it begins with.

Singular    Plural
Masculinedudu beurresome butter desdes aspergessome asparagus
Femininede lade la tartesome piedes épinardssome spinach
Vowel or h muetde l’de l’argentsome moneydes pâtessome pasta

Learn more about partitive articles

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Introduction to French articles

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