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Les articles indéfinis (a/an)

October 8, 2012

In French, a noun is almost always introduced by an article or any other determiner (possessive adjective, demonstrative adjective etc.). As in English, an article may be definite (“the“) or indefinite (“a“/”an“). In French, articles agree in gender and number with the noun they introduce.

1. Forms.







J’ai un ordinateur. (I have a computer.)
C’est une amie. (She is a friend.)
Je connais des chansons françaises. (I know French songs.)

2. Uses.

As in English, indefinite articles in French may :

  • refers to a noun which is non-specific.

Ex : Des enfants jouent. Some children/Children are playing.
Les enfants de mon voisin jouent. The children of my neighbour are playing.

→ In the first example “enfants” is not determined, but in the second example “enfants” it is, as the sentence (or the context) makes clear which children we are talking about.

  • indicates the quantity of something.

Ex : Je mange une pizza avec deux amis. I am eating a pizza with two friends.

3. In a negative sentence.

In a negative sentence, the indefinite articles “un“, “une“, “des” are replaced by “de” or “d’“: 

Ex : J’ai un chien. → Je n’ai pas de chien.

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