Definite Articles

Les articles définis

Introduction Introduction
Definite articles are words that specify a particular and identifiable noun. English uses the word “the” for this purpose. In French, there are four words that can translate as “the” based on gender and number.

For masculine nouns, the word le is used:

   le garçon
   the boy

However, if the noun begins an h or a vowel, le is contracted to simply l’ for the purposes of harmonic pronunciations:

   l’homme
   the man

For feminine nouns, the word la is used:

   la femme
   the woman

For both masculine and feminine plural nouns, the word les is used:

   les hommes
   the men

   les femmes
   the women

It is important to note, that French employs the use of definite articles in the cases you would in English, but also in reference to mass and generic nouns. “I like books” translates as J'aime les livres.
MasculineFeminine
Singular
Play le
the
Play la
the
Plural
Play les
the
Phrases Les phrases
Play Le garçon joue.
The boy plays.
Play L'homme marche.
The man walks.
Play La femme danse.
The woman dances.
Play Les hommes chantent.
The men sing.
Play Les femmes lisent.
The women read.
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