Indefinite articles – un/une/des

How to say ‘a’ or some using un, une or des

The correct word for a in French depends upon the noun it follows. All nouns in French are either masculine, feminine or plural.

The articles un, une and des mean a or some and they have to agree with the gender of the noun.

EnglishMasculineFemininePlural
a, anununedes

These are called indefinite articles because you are talking about an unspecific thing or things. For example:

  • un magazine - a magazine
  • une cheminée - a fireplace
  • des chaussures - some shoes
  • je voudrais lire un magazine sur le sport - I’d like to read a magazine about sport
  • dans le salon, il y avait une grande cheminée - in the lounge there was a big fireplace
  • il porte des chaussures blanches – he’s wearing some white shoes

Un/une or des – more examples

In the singular form (referring to one thing or person), use the articles:

Singular masculineSingular feminine
un vélo - a bikeune voiture - a car

For plurals use des for all words and remember to make your noun plural too.

Plural masculinePlural feminine
des vélos - (some) bikesdes voitures - (some) cars
  • il veut un vélo bleu - he wants a blue bike
  • ils ont une belle voiture - they have a lovely car
  • elle travaille dans un hospital - she works in a hospital
  • il y a des chips dans la cuisine - there are some crisps in the kitchen

Indefinite articles with jobs and professions

When talking about jobs or professions in French, you don't need to use un/une before the job:

  • elle est vendeuse - she’s a sales assistant
  • il est ingénieur - he’s an engineer
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