Categories: French Grammar

Contraction à la, à l’, au, de la, du in French

Contraction of the definite article with the preposition in French

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Preposition “à”:

In English “à” can be “to”, “at”, “in” and sometimes nothing (I go home)

The preposition “à” is contracted with the masculine definite article in French

Je vais à la plage: “plage” is feminine, no contraction.
Je vais à l’école: “école” is feminine but we don’t mind; the word starts with a vowel so “à l'”.
Je vais à l’étage: “étage” is masculine but again we say “à l'”.
Je vais à l’hotel: same thing for words starting with a plugged “h”

Masculine:

Je vais au cinéma ( we don’t say “à le” but “au”)
J’ai mal au pied (my foot hurts)

Plural:

Je vais aux toilettes (toilettes is always plural in French from France)
“Aux” works with masculine and feminine words.

Preposition “de”:

“De” means “of”, “from”…

The preposition “de” is contracted with the masculine definite article in French:

Je viens de la plage: “plage” is feminine, no contraction
Je viens de l’école: “école” is feminine but we don’t mind; the word starts with a vowel so “à l'”
Je viens de l’étage: “étage” is masculine but again we say à l’
Je viens de l’hotel: same thing for words starting with a mute “h”

Masculine:

Je viens du cinéma ( we don’t say “de le” but “du”)
Je veux du pain: I want some bread

Plural:

Je viens des toilettes
“Des” works with masculine and feminine words.

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