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Articles of Determination
Need a deep-dive into articles? This is the one!
Bonjour les amis !
Despite their tiny size, French articles are an immensely important part of speech. They introduce and modify nouns, providing
key information about the purpose of those nouns - as well as their gender and number.
Today’s issue of Lawless French à fond takes an in-depth look at the similarities and differences between French articles, and the tricky aspects of using them correctly.
First things first: There are three different types of French articles, so if you have any doubts, take a look at these lessons to review:
📚 You should also know that articles belong to a grammatical class of words called determiners, which function in similar ways to introduce and modify nouns.
There are three main areas of confusion when it comes to articles.
1️ The first is obvious: each of the three types of articles has its own specific uses and meanings, so you need to truly understand the difference between them. The names help to an extent, but nothing can replace reading detailed lessons, taking notes, and practicing to perfection.
Get started with this detailed comparison of articles 🔍.
2️ The second issue is that the different forms of the partitive article look exactly like the preposition de + the corresponding forms of the definite article (including the contractions). 😕 So having a solid understanding of the difference between definite and partitive articles (see #1, above) is vital to making sense of any sentences that contain du, de la, or des.
💡 It can help to consider some of the types of phrases that may lead to de + definite article:
3️ The third issue is gender. All three types of articles have different forms depending on whether the noun they introduce is masculine or feminine, so understanding which article to use goes hand in hand with knowing your noun genders. And while there's no nice neat shortcut for knowing the gender of any given noun outside of checking a dictionary, there are some tendencies that can help.
Remember that after negation, the indefinite and partitive articles both reduce to de. See #5 in this lesson.
On(e) L'ast Thing
There's another bit of oddness about articles that you may have come across; namely, the definite article is sometimes added in front of the pronoun on. Find out all about that here: L'on.
Listen to these audio features, paying attention to how the articles are used. Does it correspond to what you've learned?
Jeanne d'Arc (C1)
These are five of the six CEFR language proficiency levels.
Test your new knowledge with some fill-in-the-blanks exercises.
Definite + Indefinite Articles
Partitive and Contracted Articles
Put it all together with this quiz from my French Workbook for Dummies (chapter 3: Figuring Out Nouns and Articles).
Juste pour rigoler
Comic courtesy of Malachi Ray Rempen, ItchyFeetComic.com
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