Indefinite Articles

French Indefinite Articles

In this lesson you’ll learn the indefinite articles in French. The indefinite articles in English are “a” and “an”. In French use the following:

1) Un before a masculine singular noun. Examples:
un sac = a bag
un homme = a man (pronounce the “n” because “h” is treated like a vowel)
un ami = a friend

2) Une is used before a feminine singular noun. Examples:
une fille = a girl
une femme = a woman
une maison = a house

3) Des before either a masculine or feminine noun in the plural. This transates to “some” in English. Examples
des pommes = some apples
des stylos = some pens
des chiens = some dogs
des étudiants = some students

There’s a special negation rule that applies to the indefinite article. Un, une and des all become “de” in the negative.

If you ask the question:
Est-ce que tu as un chien? Do you have a dog? The answer is:
Non, je n’ai pas de chien. No, I don’t have a (any) dog.

The un becomes de and translates to any. I don’t have any dog.

Another example:
Est-ce que tu as une voiture? Do you have a car?
Answer: Non, je n’ai pas de voiture. No, I don’t have a (any) car.

The same applies to plural nouns:
Est-ce que tu as des pommes? Do you have some apples?
Non, je n’ai pas de pommes. No, I don’t have any apples.

Note too that the “de” in negative sentences becomes d’ before a noun starting with a vowel:
Est-ce que tu as des amandes? Do you have some almonds?
Non, je n’ai pas d’amandes. No, I don’t have any almonds.

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