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Articles and Adjectives: Short Words before French Nouns

Part of the French All-in-One For Dummies Cheat Sheet

In French, you almost always use an article or short adjective before a noun or noun phrase. These words translate as the, a/an, some, this, that, these, those, which, what, my, your, his, her, and so on.

The following tables show these common little words in all their forms — masculine and feminine, singular and plural, before a consonant and before a vowel or mute h, and sometimes in various grammatical persons. Definite articles refer to something specific, indefinite articles refer to something unspecific, and partitive articles refer to a part of something. Demonstrative adjectives differentiate and compare things, interrogative adjectives ask for information, and possessive adjectives identify the owner of something.

Articles and Demonstrative and Interrogative Adjectives
Gender and Number Definite Articles (the) Indefinite Articles (a/an, some) Partitive Articles (some) Demonstrative Adj. (this/that, these/those) Interrogative Adj. (which/what)
Masc. singular le, l’ (before vowel or mute h) un du, de l’ (before vowel or mute h) ce, cet (before vowel or mute h) quel
Fem. singular la, l’ (before vowel or mute h) une de la, de l’ (before vowel or mute h) cette quelle
Plural les des des ces quels (masc.), quelles (fem.)
Possessive Adjectives
Meaning Singular Masc. Object Singular Fem. Object Plural Object
my mon ma, mon (before vowel or mute h) mes
your (singular familiar) ton ta, ton (before vowel or mute h) tes
his/her son sa, son (before vowel or mute h) ses
our notre notre nos
your (plural or singular formal) votre votre vos
their leur leur leurs
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