Unformatted text preview: 3. First letter of the word
There are three definite articles and an abbreviation. "Le" is used for masculine nouns, "La" is used for
feminine nouns, "Les" is used for plural nouns (both masculine or feminine), and "L' " is used when the
noun begins with a vowel or silent "h" (both masculine or feminine). It is similar to English, where "a"
changes to "an" before a vowel.
French Grammar • Print version • audio (info •78 kb • help)
The Definite Article L'article défini
la la fille
le le fils
singular, starting with a vowel sound l’ l’enfant the child
les filles the daughters
les les fils
les enfants the children Plurality, pronunciation, and exceptions
The plural of most nouns is formed by adding an -s. However, the -s ending is not pronounced. It is the
article that tells the listener whether the noun is singular or plural.
^ Fils: Most singular nouns do not end in -s. The -s is added for the plural form of the noun. Fils is one
exception. Whenever the singular form of a noun ends in -s, there is no change in the plural form.
un fils des fils
le cours les cours un cours des cours
the course the courses a course (some) courses
Secondly, the final consonant is almost always not pronounced unless followed by an -e (or another vowel).
Fils (pronounced feece) is also an exception to this rule. Elision
Elision refers to the suppression of a final unstressed vowel immediately before another word beginning
with a vowel. The definite articles le and la are shortened to l’ when they come before a noun that begins
with a vowel or silent h. When pronounced, the vowel sound is dropped.
(le) ami - l'ami - lahmee - the (male) friend
(la) amie - l'amie - lahmee the (female) friend
(le) élève - l'élève - lay lev - the student
(la) heure - l'heure - leur - the hour/the time
Elision does not occur on an aspired h:
(le) héros - le héros - a legendary hero
In addition to the definite article, elision will also occur with other words, such as que, je, le, ce, ne, and de.
The details on these words will be covered in later sections of the book. The indefinite article ...
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- Fall '13
- Vowel, Grammatical number, les fils, fils des fils, cours les cours