What is the difference between defined and undefined articles ?

 

#Defined and undefined articles :

Defined and indefined articles are found in front of the names. They agree in gender (masculine and feminine) and number (singular and plural) with the latter. However, they are not used in the same way.

  • Defined articles :

Les articles définis

 

Defined items refer to something unique. The object or person that is introduced by a defined article is identified, that thing or person is known.

For example : Regarde c'est le pull que j'ai acheté. Comment tu le trouves ?
➡️ We see this "pull" and we can identified him.

The defined articles also make it possible to introduce countries.
For example : La Russie est un pays magnifique.

They are also used with taste verbs.
For example : J'adore le chocolat. Je déteste les gens malhonnêtes.

 

  • Undefined articles :

 

The undefined articles refer to something that is not unique. The object or person that is introduced by an indefined article is not identified, that thing or person is not known.

For example : J'ai croisé un ami ce matin.
➡️  We don't know who this friend is, we can't identify him.

Undefined items are also used with the expression "C'est" + "un" + name group
For example : C'est une jolie voiture !
We identify this car here, however an indefinite article is used, as it expresses the fact that this is a nice car among all the other cars.

 

#The difference between defined and undefined articles :

The difference between defined and undefined articles is therefore in the object or person that is designated. If the object or person is known and identified, the definite articles are used.
On the contrary, if the object or person is not known and identified, the undefined articles are used.

 

#Defined and undefined articles in a negative sentence :

Defined articles do not change when used in a negative sentence.
For exmple :  Tu as emprunté le vélo de Julie Tu n'as pas emprunté le vélo de Julie.

However, undefined articles change form when used in a negative sentence. 
For example : Il y a un très bon magasin dans ma rue.  Il n'y a pas de très bon magasin dans ma rue.
Elle a des poules dans son jardin  Elle n'a pas de poules dans son jardin.

⚠️ Beware ⚠️
With the expression "C'est" + "un" + name group, the undefined article does not change.

For example : C'est un gentil garçon  Ce n'est pas un gentil garçon

 

#In brief :

To summarize, here is an infographics on the defined and undefined articles:


Les articles définis et indéfinis

 

Defined and undefined articles now hold no secrets for you. 

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I'll see you soon for new adventures, in French of course! 🇫🇷