Definite and Indefinite
Languages come with their different peculiarities which need to be studied if they must be understood properly. For the French Language, we have the French articles are also referred to as determinants.
They determine the gender as well as the number of a noun; such nouns can be an object, a place, a person, or a thing. For example:
- une tasse — a cup
- une fille — a girl
- un garcon — a boy
- la ville — the town
- l’homme — the man
In the French Language, there are two major types of articles:
- Definite articles (les articles définis)
- Indefinite articles (les articles indéfinis)
One other that does not exist in English is the partitive articles.
Definite articles, just like the English definite articles, define a specific noun. They are the direct translation of the definite article ‘the’ of the English Language.
There are four definite articles in French:
What other ways are they used?
- to talk about a specific object known to the listener
Nous sommes les chanteurs (We are the singers)
- to talk about a specific person
Le garçon est intélligent (The boy is intelligent)
- to talk about your tastes and preferences
J’aime l’ananas (I like pineapple)
- to talk about the totality of an object or thing
La terre est grande (The world is big)
- to mention the people from a particular culture
Les français sont gentils (The French are kind)
Indefinite Articles (Les articles indéfinis)
The indefinite article refers to an unspecific noun, a general whole. There are three indefinite articles, they are:
Un… it is used to introduce a masculine singular noun.
- un cahier (a notebook)
- un livre (a text book)
Une.. it is used to introduce a feminine singular noun
- une fille( a girl)
- une occasion ( an opportunity)
Des.. it is the plural form of the indefinite articles of ‘un’ et ‘une’
- des garçons
- des filles
Note: French nouns are determined by gender not vowel or consonant. Thus,
- an egg will be un œuf
- a woman will be une femme
In general, French articles define words and make them easier to understand as well as make reading French exciting.
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