Thursday, May 12, 2011

Definite Articles (Articles définis) - Le, La, Les

The definite article (the) indicates a specific person or thing: the house, the book
For words beginning with a vowel or vowel sound (h, y), the definite articles le and la become l’.
Identifying the gender of the noun is easy when le or la is used, but it will be a problem when it's l’, which can represent nouns of either gender. Most plural nouns end in -s, and all plural nouns require the plural marker les.

le garçon (the boy)                 les garçons (the boys)
la fille (the girl)                      les filles (the girls)
l’élève (the student)               les élèves (the students)

Use the definite article:
With nouns in a general or abstract sense: J’adore le chocolat. (I love chocolate.)
With names of languages, except immediately after parler, en, and de:

Le français est facile. French is easy. 
J’adore le français. I love French. 
But: Je parle français. I speak French.  
       Ce livre est en français. This book is in French.
       C’est un livre de français. It’s a French book.

With parts of the body when the possessor is clear: 
Ferme les yeux. (Close your eyes.)
With titles of rank or profession, except when addressing the person:

le docteur Marat  
But: Bonjour, docteur Marat.
With days of the week in plural: 

Le dimanche je me repose. (On Sunday[s] I rest.)
With seasons and colors, except after en: 

 Aimes-tu l’été? Do you like the summer?
Je préfère le rouge. I prefer red.  

But: Elle peint la cuisine en bleu. She’s painting the kitchen blue.
With dates:  

C’est le six mai. (It’s May 6.)
With most geographical names: 

La France est belle. (France is beautiful.)
To express a, an, or per with weights and measures:  

Elle paie sept dollars la douzaine. (She pays seven dollars per dozen.)
With expressions of time or place: 

le soir (in the evening), 
la semaine prochaine (next week),
la maison (at home),
Il travaille le matin. (He works in the morning.)

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