Bitesize has changed! We're updating subjects as fast as we can. Visit our new site to find Bitesize guides and clips - and tell us what you think!

Did you know?

We also have Bitesize study guides covering many subjects at National 4 and National 5 on our Knowledge & Learning BETA website.

Home > French > Grammar > The, a, some, any (articles)


The, a, some, any (articles)


Remember the key to success in the written exam is a sound knowledge of French grammar. Work your way through the different revision and test bites on writing and grammar. Here, we're going to look at some articles (the, a, some, any). There are several types of article in French:

le, la, l', les

The definite articles are le, la, l', les, all of which mean "the".

Why are there four words for "the"?

  • le is used before masculine nouns.
  • la is used before feminine nouns.
  • l' is used before nouns beginning with a vowel. or silent h (such as histoire) - all of these are singular.
  • les is used before all nouns in the plural.

In English, masculine and feminine nouns are people or animals only, but in French all nouns are masculine or feminine.


le, la, l', les are often used in the same way as the word "the" in English:

  • Je vois le garçon - I see the boy.
  • La ville est tres animée - The town is very lively.
  • L'ordinateur a un écran en couleur - The computer has a colour screen.
  • Les magasins sont ouverts - The shops are open.

It should also be noted that they are used more often in French than in English, for example:

In general statements

Some teenagers playing table tennis.
  • Je n'aime pas les légumes - I don't like vegetables.
  • Je préfère le ping-pong - I prefer table tennis.
  • Il étudie le français - He studies French.

Before the names of most countries

  • J'adore l'Allemagne - I love Germany.

Before parts of the body

  • Il a les yeux bleus - He has blue eyes.

To express prices/quantities

  • €3 le kilo - €3 per kilo.
  • €10 la bouteille - €10 per bottle.

Let's take each of these in turn.



Motorcyclist with flowers on Ma France.

Ma France

Interactive French videos from BBC Languages

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.