This is where I’ll introduce you to definite French articles – and I don’t mean the reading kind! If you’ve never heard of definite articles in French, don’t panic!
I’ve provided step-by-step explanations so you’ll understand these basic rules of French grammar in no time.
Resources for further reading:
Articles are the little words that make language really clear: “The,” “A,” “Some,” “Several,” “Of,” “Of the,” and “Any.”
In English the word “the” is what we call a definite article. That is because the word “the” points to a very specific thing. For example, you may tell someone, “I want the mug” assuming that they will bring you the mug you have in mind.
If you tell them, “I want a mug,” you will get whichever mug they choose to hand you! That is because the words “a” or “an” or “some” are indefinite articles and point to a general group of items, things, people or places.
In French, the short defining word before the noun is really part of the noun. For instance, “le musicien” and “la musicienne” for 'the musician.'
In French, “the” is not just one word. Rather there are a total of 4 versions of “the,” depending on the gender and quantity of the noun to which you are referring.
The French word for “the,”
For example, if there is one (male) cat, we say “Le chat.” If there are two or more cats, we say “Les chats.”
If there is one woman, we say “La femme.” If there are two or more women, we say “Les femmes.”
Any singular noun beginning with a vowel or an “h” is always preceded by an apostrophe after the definite article: “L’"- for example, “L’homme,” “L’hiver,” “ L’escalier.”
The apostrophe is inserted in between the article and the noun. This is because two vowel sounds in French cannot follow from one word to another.
Rocket Record lets you perfect your French pronunciation. Just listen to the native speaker audio and then use the microphone icon to record yourself. Once you’re done, you’ll get a score out of 100 on your pronunciation and can listen to your own audio playback. (Use a headset mic for best results.) Problems? Click here!
The guest (male)
"Some" and "several" in French are interchangeable with "any" and "of the." We refer to words like "some" and "several" as articles. These articles help to define words and quantities, and just like everything else in French, they have to follow gender rules.
This means that almost everything new you learn in French will be subject to the following questions:
Á plus tard! (See you later!)
Marie-Claire Rivière and the Rocket French Team
Reinforce your learning from this lesson with the Rocket Reinforcement activities! These activities are scientifically designed to improve your knowledge and retention of French.