Articles, Difference between English and French

Articles, Difference between English and French

Indefinite article: the rule is pretty simple, a and an are un or une in French and the plural is “des”.

Definite articles: there is one in English but not all the times, the rule is easier in French, there is always a definite article before a noun whatever the sentence. (with some exceptions)

1. Specific things

The book is on the table
There are one definite article and in French, as we said, two:
Le livre est sur la table

2. Generic

I love chocolate (any kind of chocolate)
In English, there is no article before ‘chocolate’, in French as we said, there is one:
J’aime le chocolat.

French is more complicated than Spanish (generally speaking)
Le français est plus compliqué que l’espagnol.

3. Plural

Cats are very agile
We don’t say ‘the cats’, but in French:
Les chats sont très agiles

Hi guys: Salut les gars!

4. Titles

President Charles François: Le président Charles François

As you can see, it is easy, there is always a definite article before a noun in a sentence. Of course this article may be contracted: au, aux, des.

More examples:
I am going to school: Je vais à l’école
It is June 15th :C’est le 15 juin
France is great: La France est géniale

5. Weight and Length

5 euros a kilo: 5 euros le kilo
3 euros a meter: 3 euros le mètre

Exceptions:

When we speak about someone, we can say: “le docteur Michel est…”, but if the person is in front of you and to introduce the conversation, you will say: “bonjour docteur Michel” (no article) (with a president, we say “monsieur le président”)

Proverbs: contre vents et marées (despite all the obstacles), we could say contre les vents et les marées, it is correct French, but the expression is with no articles.

With the verb “parler”
Je parle Français (je parle le français is possible), je parle Anglais etc…

With some verbs followed with a preposition: J’ai besoin d’argent (here the verb is avoir besoin de)

Also after What or Which: Which book is… Quel livre est…  (what gets the meaning of which) What or Which + noun.

Pascal Dherve

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Pascal Dherve

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