Articles in French – Definite, Indefinite and Partitive

In this lesson we will talk about the articles in French; definite, indefinite and partitive. with brief explanation.

Articles in French - Definite, Indefinite and Partitive

Definite Articles In French

When to use the definite article

There are four definite articles in French: le, la, l’, les and they are the equivalent of the English “the“, they are used to specify or identify a particular noun (that we know or heard about before), and they must agree in gender and number.


For both singular le and la, we use l’ when the noun starts with a vowel or a silent “h”. And the plural for both masculine and feminine is les.


Le livre – the book

Les livres – the books

L’amie – the friend (female)

Definite Articles and Prepositions

When masculine definite articles come just after the prepositions “à” and “de” they combine into a single word:


à + les: aux

à + les: aux

de + le: du

de + les: des

Note: you can practice what you’ve learned here, and learn how to pronounce each of the words in our Memrise course here, don’t know how to use the platform or sign up? we’ve got you covered in this easy-to-follow tutorial here.

Indefinite Articles In French

When to use indefinite article

There are two indefinite articles in french: un et une, and they are the equivalent of the English “a, an“, they are used to introduce a non-specific noun.

Un garçon – a boy

Une fille – a girl

For the plural, we use des or de/d’ if there is an adjective before the noun, or an adverb before the article:

J’ai des livres – I have books

J’ai beaucoup de livres – I have many books

Partitive Articles in French

In French, if we know exactly the quantity of something, we use numbers. And if we don’t, we use partitive articles.

French has four partitive articles that agree in gender and number:

Masculine singulardu
Feminine singularde la
Singular + vowel or hde l’

Unspecified quantity: Je vais acheter de la viande et de l’eau (I’m going to buy some meat and water)

Specified quantity: Je vais acheter deux œuf (I’m going to but two eggs)

Articles in French - Definite, Indefinite and Partitive visual

Happy learning!

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