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. French articles agree in gender and number with the nouns they modify, and there are three types:

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
Masculine le le livre the book   les les livres the books
Feminine la la table the table les tables the tables
Vowel or h muet l’ l’abricot the apricot les abricots the apricots

Learn more about definite articles.

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 not considered an article in English.

Singular         Plural
Masculine un un abricot an apricot   des des livres some books
Feminine une une table a table des tables some tables

Learn more about indefinite articles.

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
Masculine du du beurre some butter   des des asperges some asparagus
Feminine de la de la tarte some pie des épinards some spinach
Vowel or h muet de l’ de l’argent some money des pâtes some pasta

Learn more about partitive articles.

 Related lessons

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Introduction to French articles
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