In our introduction to French, we learned that contrary to English, French nouns have a gender that affect the articles you use with them. The nouns are either of masculine or feminine gender. The gender of the noun will be learned along with the vocabulary as there are no reliable rules to determine gender in advance (except examples where gender is obvious like ‘woman’, ‘man’, ‘boy’ etc.). In this lesson, we are going to focus on the French articles that define the gender of the nouns.
|le / l’||la / l’||les|
The indefinite articles “un” and “une” are the translations for English articles “a” and “an.” These articles make things unspecific. For example, “je veux une pomme” (I want an apple) so that means I want any kind of apple, I did not define the noun.
“DES“ is the plural of “un” and “une.” “DES“ could be translated by ∅ (nothing) in English, and sometimes by some or several.
Ex.: “Je veux des pommes” = I want apples / I want some apples
The definite articles “le,” “la” and “les” = “the” in English. When the noun start with a vowel or a “h”, we get rid of the vowel of the articles “le” or “la” and we use “l’” instead. The definite articles refers to a something very specific. For example, “Je veux la pomme” (I want the apple), this means that we might have talked about a specific apple and it is this specific apple that I want.
- un homme (a man)
- une femme (a woman)
- l’homme (the man)
- la femme (the woman)
|un homme||des hommes||une femme||des femmes|
|l’homme||les hommes||la femme||les femmes|
|Je suis un homme.||(I am a man)|
|Tu es une femme.||(You are a woman.)|
|Elle est la femme de Paul.||(She is Paul’s wife.)|
|Il est un garçon.||(He is a boy.)|
|Elle est une fille.||(She is a girl.)|
|Elle est la fille de Paul.||(She is Paul’s daughter.)|
|Nous sommes des enfants.||(We are children.)|