Using le, la, l' to say "the" (definite articles)

Look at these cases:

Le garçon mange une pomme.The boy is eating an apple.

La fille est jolie.The girl is pretty.

L'animal est timide.The animal is shy.

Elle est dans l'hôtel.She is in the hotel.

French has three words for the : le, la and l'.

Unlike English, all nouns (words for things) in French are masculine or feminine.

  • Use le with masculine nouns
  • Use la with feminine nouns
  • Use l' with words of either gender that begin with a vowel or the letter h.

Grammar jargon: le, la and l' are definite articles (the is the definite article in English).

In some cases, French and English use these definite articles in a different way. Look at these lessons:

Using le, la, l', les before nouns when generalising (definite articles)
Using le, la, les with titles, languages and academic subjects (definite articles)
Using le, la, l', les with continents, countries & regions names (definite articles)
Using le, la, les with weights and measures (definite articles)
Using le, la, les with body parts and clothing (definite articles)

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Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

La fille est jolie.The girl is pretty.
Le vampire est caché.The vampire is hidden.
L'animal est timide.The animal is shy.
Elle est dans l'hôtel.She is in the hotel.
Bas les masques !Take off the masks!
Le garçon mange une pomme.The boy is eating an apple.
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