French The Definite Article

Beginner French - Level A1

Overview

In English we only have one definite article: the. In French, there is more than one definite article to choose from. All French nouns are either masculine or feminine. Just as in English, they can be either singular or plural. The word you choose for the depends on whether the noun it is used with is masculine or feminine, singular or plural.

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French A1

 

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French The Definite Article

There are several ways that you express the word “the” in French. The word “the” is called the definite article. The form of the definite article that you choose should be based on the gender and number of the person or object that you are referring to.

Definite Article

Label

Example

Translation

le

Masculine singular

le chien

the dog

la

Feminine singular

la fleur

the flower

les

Plural

les films

the movies

l’

Masculine or Feminine before a vowel

l’école

the school

 

Notes:

  • Because nouns do not have a gender in English, it can be difficult to know and remember whether a noun in French is either masculine or feminine. Mistaking the definite articles one for another happens often. Using clues in each sentence (like adjective agreement) will give away the gender of some nouns and help in choosing the appropriate definite article. But when you learn new vocabulary words, you should learn the definite or indefinite article (thus, gender) that is associated with it.
  • Remember that even though plural nouns use the definite article les, they still have an assigned masculine or feminine gender.
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How to say "the" in French: 4 words depending on the gender of the following word. Words starting in H, le, la, l', les (basic French)

Directions: Identify whether each underlined noun is masculine singular, feminine singular, or plural.

  1. Le petit-déjeuner est à 8h. _____________
  2. La pomme est rouge. ______________
  3. Les bonbons sont pour les enfants. _______________
  4. Le restaurant a le déjeuner et le dîner._____________
  5. La glace est ma favorite. ____________
  6. Les poissons sont grands. ______________

Translation and Answers:

  1. Breakfast is at 8 o’clock. Breakfast, or petit-déjeuner, is a masculine singular noun. This is understood from the masculine singular definite article, Le.
  2. The apple is red. Apple, or pomme, is a feminine singular noun. This is understood from the feminine singular definite article, La.
  3. The candies are for the children. Candies, or bonbons, is a plural noun. This is shown by the plural definite article, Les. The word bonbons is also masculine, however there is no clue to indicate that in the sentence. Regardless of gender, Les will always be the plural definite article.
  4. The restaurant has lunch and dinner. Restaurant, or restaurant, is a masculinine singular noun. This is understood from the masciline singular definite article, Le.
  5. Ice cream is my favorite. Ice cream, or glace, is a feminine singular noun. This is understood from the feminine singular definite article, La.
  6. The fish are large. Fish, ou poissons, is a plural noun. This is shown by the plural definite article, Les. The word poissons is also masculine, but plural nouns will default to using the plural definite article regardless of gender.

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