Definite Articles in French


In English, we have only one definite article: [the]

French has four definite articles. Like adjectives, articles match their nouns in gender and number.
Masculine singular: le
Feminine singular: la
Masculine and Feminine plural: les
Masculine and Feminine singular beginning with a vowel: l'

French uses the definite article more often than in English. This sometimes seems strange for beginning French speakers. Here are some times that the definite article is used in Spanish:

Before days of the week
Unless you are telling the day using ser (Aujourd'hui nous sommes lundi.), you must use the definite article before the name of the days of the week, which are all masculine.
Examples:
Nous avons une réunion le mardi [We have a meeting onTuesday.]
Nous allons au parc les samedis. [We go to the park onSaturdays.]

With titles
If you are talking about a person whose name includes a title, you should use the definite article before the title. (This is not true if you are talking TO the person.)
Examples:
Le bureau du docteur Millet est au premier étage. [Dr. Millet' office isonthefirstfloor.]
When commenting about all nouns of a certain type
If you are making a statement about all members of a group, rather than referring to a specific item, use the definite article.
Examples:
Les femmes sont émotionnelles [Women are emotional.]
La pizza est délicieuse. [(The) Pizza is delicious.]
Note: This formation can sometimes be a little vague, as in the last example. It could be referring to a certain pizza, or to pizza in general, depending on the context.
With abstract nouns
When talking about a general concept rather than a specific item, you should use the definite article.
Il fait froid l'hiver [It's cold in winter.]
L'amour est une torture [Love is torture.]

Before the names of languages
The definite article is used with names of language except if it is the object of a verb like hablar, and when it is preceded by en.

Examples:
El chino es difícil. [Chineseisdifficult.]
L'anglais est important pour les affaires. [Englishisimportantfor Business.]

Related Links:
French Language
Family Vocabulary in French
Gender in French
Indefinite Articles in French


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