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Manuel

Gender of French articles

Gender of French articles - Genre des articles

de vs des, de vs de la, de vs du, French, French vocabulary, French grammar, French culture, all about French, français

de la salade

French nouns have a gender.  For instance, ‘a chair’ is feminine, and ‘an armchair’ is masculine.

The gender of a noun is expressed in the companion article: A or THE in French can be masculine or feminine. For instance, you may say un mode to translate ‘a method’ and une mode to say ‘a fashion’. Therefore, it’s important to memorize the gender of the article with every new noun/word you learn.

 

1.    Nouns you can count

  • when the noun is masculine

the = le

example: the chicken = le poulet

a/an = un

example: a hamburger = un steak hâché

  • when the noun is feminine

the = la

example: the salad = la salade

a/an = une

example: an appetizer = une entrée

  • when the noun starts with a vowel

the = l’

example: the orange = l’orange

  • when the noun is plural, no matter the gender

the = les

example: the drinks = les boissons

[some] = des

example: [some] desserts = des desserts

 

2.    Nouns you can not count (one water, one milk), when you want “some” of something (some water), when you want a piece/slice of something, when the number of the noun is approximate.

  • [some] = du

example: [some] wine = du vin

  • [some] = de la

example: [some] soda = de la limonade

  • [some] = des

example: [some] drinks = des boissons

 

masculine

feminine

before a vowel

plural

the

le

la

l’

les

a/an

un

une

-

des

[some]

du

de la

de l’

des

 

Except with occupations, there is always an article in front of a French noun and adjective.

  • I want ø wine. -- Je voudrais du vin.
  • ø France is great. -- La France est super.
  • She sings ø beautiful songs. -- Elle chante des* belles chansons.
  • ø French is easy at FRENCH ETC. -- Le français est facile à FRENCH ETC.
  • I’m going to ø church. -- Je vais à l’église.
  • I’m a teacher. -- Je suis ø prof.

* DE vs. DES (Premium members only)

Related: Other Grammar Points DE vs. DES . Tricks to figure out a French word's gender in the premium worksheet .

3 comments to Gender of French articles

  • StarlaTohline

    She sings beautiful songs. = elle chante de belles chansons. Je crois qu’il doit y avoir une erreur ci-dessus. 🙂

  • Kate

    Dear Anne

    I wonder if you could help me with a French query. I have been working through the “De or Des” grammar sheet.

    I note that you would say “Elle chante des chansons longues” because the adjective is after the noun (and not before, which I understand would change “des” to “de”, i.e. “elle chante de belles chansons”).

    However, I came across this sentence “Elle est chargée de résponsibilités importantes” and I do not understand why the “de” is used here as the adjective is after the noun.

    I wonder if you could please explain this.

    Thank you in advance for your assistance.

    With kind regards

    • Bonjour Kate,
      Thank you for posting your question here.

      In your example, DE is a preposition attached to the verb – not an article relating to the noun. In this instance ‘être chargée de’. I hope that clarifies it. If not, don’t hesitate to write again.
      Anne

     

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