The definite article in French

The definite article in French gives you a headache? Don’t worry, because that’s over now! Just like in other languages, the definite article exists in both the singular and the plural and a distinction is made between masculine and feminine.

You must also note that the ending of the noun can change depending on the article.

The definite article with masculine nouns

There are two distinct definite articles in the singular: le and l‘. However, the plural form is always the same: les.

le – les

If your noun begins with a consonant, you need the article le in the singular and the article les in the plural.

  • le livre – les livres (the book – the books)
  • le stylo – les stylos (the pen – the pens)

l‘ – les

But if the noun begins with a vowel or a silent h, you need the article l‘ in the singular and les in the plural.

  • l’enfant – les enfants (the child – the children)
  • l’homme – les hommes (the man – the men)

The definite article with feminine nouns

It works similarly for feminine nouns as it does for masculine nouns. The only exception to this is that the feminine article in the singular is la.

la – les

If a noun begins with a consonant, you need the article la in the singular and les in the plural.

  • la voiture – les voitures (the car – the cars)
  • la maison – les maisons (the house – the houses)

l‚ – les

If a feminine word begins with a vowel or the silent h, you use the article l‘ in the singular and the article les in the plural.

  • l’erreur – les erreurs (the error – the errors)
  • l’idée – les idées (the idea – the ideas)

How to learn the definite articles in French

It is best to learn each noun from the beginning with the corresponding article. Because it is precisely the silent h that causes problems for some learners. But don’t worry, our app will help you and show you the word with the appropriate article on each vocabulary card.

Do you have questions about the definite article in French?

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