Articles in French Made Easy: A Cheat Sheet for Beginners

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articles in french

Le chat est noir” (The cat is black), “Je lis un livre (I read a book)”. Do you notice the highlighted articles in French in these sentences? Articles are the key elements placed before nouns to indicate number and gender in French, leading to a different writing style than English. French articles define nouns and offer clarity, playing a key role in constructing sentences, specifying and adding nuance to them. They help distinguish general and specific references and their absence can significantly change the meaning of a sentence. So knowing how to use articles in Francais correctly is crucial. Let’s get started without any further ado. Ready, set, lingo!


Also Read: 70 Basic French Language Words You Need to Know Before Getting Started

Types of Articles in French

Articles in French are needed in almost every common noun, much more so than in the English language. There are 3 types of articles in French and they all agree in gender and number with the nouns they modify. Let’s learn about them in detail below. 

Indefinite Articles

Indefinite articles (or articles indéfinis) refer to an unspecific noun or the amount of something. They are also used to refer to a single unit of something. There are 3 indefinite articles in French and their use depends on the gender of the noun and the quantity, as shown below:

Masculine and Feminine Pluraldessome

Examples: une amie (a friend (female)), un livre (a book), and des fruits (some fruits)

Definite Articles

Definite articles (or articles définis) are used for referring to a specific noun or class of nouns. There are four definite articles in French and their use depends on the quantity, gender, and first letter of the following noun.

lesmasculine/feminine pluralthe/these
l’noun starts with vowel/h muetthe

For example: le livre (the book), l’orange (the orange), and la maison (the house)

Partitive Articles

Partitive articles (or articles partitifs) refer to a part or a portion of an uncountable noun. There are 4 partitive articles in French which depend on the quantity, gender, and first letter of the following noun.

de lafemininesome/any
desmasculine/feminine pluralsome/any
de l’noun starts with vowel/h muetsome/any

For example: de la farine (some flour), des raisins (some grapes), du lait (some milk), and de l’eau (some water)

You can also refer to this tutorial on French articles for clarity on the subject:

How To Use The Correct Articles in French?

Choosing the correct articles in French sentences depends on the message you are trying to communicate. Here’s how articles are used:

  • Article indéfini or indefinite article is used to refer to one of something. It is also used for something which has an unknown or uncountable quantity.
  • Article défini or definite article is used to refer to a specific noun or something in general.
  • Article partitif or partitive article is used to talk about something that has an unknown or uncountable quantity.
using correct articles in french

Also Read: How to Learn French Quickly? Here are 10 tips to Master the Language!

Relevant Reads:

List of French Adverbs with English TranslationTop 10 Free French Lessons for Beginners with Certificates 
French Education System: A Complete Guide for International GuideWhat are French Prepositions: Meaning, Exercises With Answers
Your Guide to Best Online French Courses with CertificatesDELF Exam: French Proficiency Tests


Q.1 How many articles are there in French?

Answer: The three articles in French, namely Indefinite, Definite, and Partitive.

Q.2 When to use un or une in French?

Answer: Un is used for masculine singular nouns, and une is used for feminine singular nouns.

Q.3 Why une pizza?

Answer: It is because pizza is feminine in French. 

And we are done with the articles in French for today. Tune into Leverage Edu’s study abroad resources for more informative blogs on French like this. Happy Learning!

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