The determinant is part of the nominal group. It agrees in gender (male or female) and in number (singular or plural) with the name it determines. The determinant is usually placed in front of the noun, sometimes separated from it by a epithet adjective.
There are several categories of determinants but in this topic, we are going to focus on the articles.
What are the French articles ?
The articles so as the others determinants brings more or less precision on the identity or the quantity of the name that it defines. The French grammar has several categories of articles.
- Definite articles : le, la, les
- Indefinite articles: un, une, des
- Partitive articles: du, de la, de l', des
- Contracted articles: aux, au, du, des
How to use French articles
ln English, an article is one of the words the, a, or an which is given in front of a noun. In French nouns are also used with articles. Beyond that, French articles can indicate if it's about
- female nouns
- masculine nouns
and if they are in the singular or plural form.
The definite articles in French
These articles (French: les articles définis) designate precisely a thing, a person, a species or a known or identifiable reality that follows them.
There is also a contracted form for the le and la in front of a vowel or a mute h written in L'.
|Le||Le passager José Garcia est invité à se rendre à la porte d'embarquement||(The passenger José Garcia is called upon to go at the gate)|
|La||La fille de ma soeur est enceinte||(The daughter of my sister is pregrant)|
|Les||Les enfants sont partis à l'école||(The children went to school)|
|L'||L'évènement s'est trés bien passé||(The event went good)|
The indefinite articles in French
The indefinite articles (French: les articles indéfinis) designate a thing or a person but not precisely.
|Un||Un jeune homme m'a aidée à me relever||(A young man helped to get up)|
|Une||Une fille m'a appelé sur mon téléphone||(A girl called me on my phone)|
|Des||Des abeilles survolent la maison||(Bees are flying over the house)|
The partitive articles in French
These articles (French: les articles partitifs) designate a quantity of matter which can be real or not. The article "du" is a contracted form.
- Du (de + le)
|Du||Je dois aller acheter du pain pour ce soir||(I have to go buy some bread for tonight)|
|De la||Quand je l'ai vu pleurer, il m'a fait de la peine||(When I saw him crying, I had a heartache)|
|Des||Tu achètera des fruits||(Buy some fruits)|
The contracted articles in French
These articles (French: les articles contractées) are made up of articles that we studied above with some prepositions like à or de.
- aux (à + les)
- au (à + le)
- du (de + le)
- des (de + les)
Note that, there is a difference between the indefinite article "des" which is precise and the contracted article "des" which is a preposition + a definite article
When le, la, les, or l' are placed in front of a verb, they are not articles but personal pronouns.
Learn more about the French articles in our subpages !
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