Definite And Indefinite Articles

Updated: Apr 18, 2019



Salut chers amis ! How are you all doing? You are welcome to another episode of French Grammar for beginners on Ma Petite France. We hope the previous episodes have been of help to you.


A few days ago we started talking about the French articles and I mentioned that we would be treating 2 types of French articles which are Definite, Indefinite and Partitive Articles.

We've seen the first part a few days ago. So, today we will be looking into the second part which is Indefinite Article - l'article indéfini.


2. Indefinite article (l'article indéfini) :


An indefinite article is a word that precedes a noun to indicate that the noun refers to any member of the class of objects named by the noun. From that definition, we can deduce that when an indefinite article is being used there is no precision about the particular noun in question as it is in the case of definite articles. In English language we have A, An and Some as indefinite articles.


There are 3 kinds of indefinite articles in French which are : Un (a/an), Une (a/an) and Des (some).


The factors that affect the choice of the indefinite article to use in French language are basically the gender of the noun (masculine /feminine) and its number (singular / plural). Unlike in English language where the use of "a" or "an" is determined by whether the noun begins with a vowel or a consonant sound as in "a boy" and "an egg".

Let's quickly see the 3 indefinite articles in French.


A. Un (a/an) : this is used for masculine singular nouns just like "le" under the definite articles.


Examples :

Un garçon- a boy

Un homme- a man

Un stylo- a biro

Un animal - an animal

Un avion- an aeroplane


B. Une (a/an) : this is used for feminine singular nouns just like "la" under the definite articles.


Examples :

Une fille- a girl

Une orange - an orange

Une chaise - a chair

Une école- a school

Une gomme- an eraser


C. Des (some) : it is the plural Form of "un" and "une" and it is used for both masculine and feminine plural nouns just like "les" is used under definite articles. We will learn more about "des" when we get to treat partitive articles. This means as long as the noun is a plural noun you do not need to be worried about the gender of the noun. What can probably bring some worries here would be how to recognize a plural noun. Well, this will be a discussion for another class. However, for the sake of this class (putting the beginners into consideration) permit me to say that once you find an "s" at the end of a word, Such a word is in plural form. Although there may be some cases that will be differences just as it is in english.


E.g. A boy- some boys but a man - some men and not "some mans". Alright! That being said, let us quickly see some examples in line with our focus for today.


Examples:

Des garçons- some boys

Des filles- some girls

Des stylos- some biros

Des enfants- some children

Des hommes- some men

Kindly note that when "des" is used as an indefinite article, it may not appear in the English translation as in "des hommes" can simply be translated as "men".

Hope that is well gotten. This brings us to the end of the French articles. Feel free to ask questions.

Till next time, don't quit learning and increasing in knowledge.

- Awodirepo Bayo


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