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French Indefinite Articles

Articles indéfinis

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The singular indefinite articles in French correspond to "a," "an," or "one" in English, while the plural corresponds to "some." There are three forms of the French indefinite article.
  1. un    masculine
  2. une   feminine
  3. des   m or f plural
Note that the plural indefinite article is the same for all nouns, whereas the singular has different forms for masculine and feminine.


Meaning and usage of the French indefinite article

The indefinite article usually refers to an unspecified person or thing.

   J'ai trouvé un livre.
   I found a book.

   Il veut une pomme.
   He wants an apple.

The indefinite article can also refer to just one of something:

   Il y a un étudiant dans la salle.
   There is one student in the room.

   J'ai une sœur.
   I have one sister.

The plural indefinite article means "some":

   J'ai acheté des pommes.
   I bought some apples.

   Veux-tu acheter des livres ?
   Do you want to buy some books?

When referring to a person's profession or religion, the indefinite is not used in French, although it is used in English. I know, I know, the exceptions never end. :-(

   Je suis professeur.
   I am a teacher.

   Il va être médecin.
   He's going to be a doctor.

In a negative construction, the indefinite article changes to de, meaning "(not) any":

   J'ai une pomme. > Je n'ai pas de pommes.
   I have an apple. > I don't have any apples.

Learn more: De vs du, de la, des


Introduction to French articles
French definite articles
French indefinite articles
French partitive articles
Choosing a French article
Quiz on French articles
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