Les noms et les articles


French nouns can be masculine or feminine.

If a noun is used in its plural form, it often take s at the end, for example:

un enfant
Les enfants

Nouns ending in s, x or z usually keep the singular form as the plural spelling as well.

Le Repas BECOMES Les Repas
Le Prix BECOMES Les Prix
Le Nez BECOMES Les Nez

Sometimes, there is an alternate plural for nouns based on their ending

-eau usually takes -eaux
-eu usually takes eux
-al usually takes aux
-ou usually takes oux

However, there are still some words which are exceptions to this rule such as
* L'oeil turns into Les yeux when plural
* Madame turns into mesdames

In many cases, the plural of a family name in french adds an "s" to the definate article but not to the last name

Les Smith, Les Martin, Les Dupont

Indefinite Articles

The indefinite articles un,une,and des accompany nouns used in a nonspecific sense and correspond to the english a,an and some.

Singular Plural
Masculine un rayon des rayons
Feminine une pomme des pommes

After most negative sentences, the indefinite articles un,une and des become de

-As-tu un billet de vingt euros?
-Non, je n'ai pas de billet de vingt euros.

However, the article does not change after the verb être when used negatively.

-Ce magasin-là, c'est une boucherie?
-Non, ce n'est pas une boucherie; c'est une charcuterie.

Definite Articles

The Definite article le, la, l' and les corresponds to the English "the". It is used to refer to specific people or things.

l' is used before nouns, Masculine or Feminine, that begins with a vowel or silent "h".

Singular Plural
Masculine le les
Feminine la les
M/F (vowel or h) l' les

If le or les (not la or l') is preceded by a or de, we use the following contractions:

a + le = au

a + les = aux

de +le = du

de + les = des

Besides being used to refer to specific people or things, the definite article is also used with speaking generally about something.

-La viande coute cher. (Meat is expensive.)
-Les Francais apprecient le progres. (The French appreciate progress.)
-Les traditions sont importantes en France. (Traditions are important in France.)

The definite article also always accompanies nouns that follow the verbs listed below.
This is because nouns used in conjunction with these verbs are being used in a more general sense.


The Partitive
The partitive is formed with de + the definite article. It cooresponds to the English words some or any. In English, we often omit the use of the these words but they must be used in French.

Masculine Noun du Tu manges du poisson.
Feminine Noun de la Il commande de la viande.
Plural Noun des Ils ont des amis.
Vowel Sound de l' Je verse de l'eau.
Negative de (d') Tu ne manges pas de salade.
Quantity de (d') Il desire un verre de vin.

Group 1 Video Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdKm_Og_KaE