French The Definite Article
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.
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.
|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|
- 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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