Learn About French Articles

By OptiLingo

Overview of French definite and indefinite articles

Definite Articles

Before you can achieve foregn language fluency, you need to understand how the language’s articles support listening and speaking comprehension. In French grammar, the language has three versions of the English definite article “the.” This accommodates the two genders and plurals of those genders.

Singluar masculinele (l’)Singluar famininela (l’)
Plural masculinelesPlural faminineles

For both singular versions, use “l’” when the noun begins with a vowel or a silent h. The plural version of the is the same regardless of the original gender of the noun.

When dealing with the prepositions “à” and “de,” you end up with a completely different word. Note that you only do this when the masculine singular and plurals.

à + le = aude + le = du
à + les = auxde + les = des

I sent a note to the president of the company.  J’ai envoyé une note au président de la compagnie.

Indefinite Articles

The French language does make the indefinite articles a little easier, based on the gender instead of basing it on the first letter of the noun. Indefinite articles are “a” and “an,” based on if the noun starts with a consonate or a vowel. In French, you don’t need to worry about the beginning of the noun, only its gender. Masculine nouns are preceeded by “un.” Feminine nouns are preceeded by “une.”

a restaurant un restaurant

an hour une heure

Remember that “a” means that there is only one, so you will not need to worry about a plural version for indefinite articles.

While there is no plural indefinite article in English, French uses “des” or “de”/“d’” if there is an adjective before the noun, or an adverb before the article

I have friends J’ai des amis

I have many friends J’ai beaucoup d’amis

I have old friends J’ai de vieux amis