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THERE are, in French, nine sorts of words, or, as they are commonly called, PARTS OF SPEECH; namely,
The Article is a word prefixed to substantives, to point them out, and to show how far their signification extends. The French article is le, la, les, the.
As the French language has borrowed much from the Latin, there is every reason to think that we have formed our le and our la from the pronoun ille, illa, illud. From the last syllable of the masculine word ille, we have made le; and from the last syllable of the feminine illa, we have made la; it is thus also that from the first syllable of that word, we have made our pronoun il (he), which we use with verbs, as likewise from the feminine illa we have made elle (she).
We use le before substantives masculine in the singular; la before substantives feminine, also in the singular; and, as the letter s, in the French language, is the sign of the plural when it is added to the singular, we have formed les from the singular le. Les serves equally for both genders.
When le or la comes before a noun beginning with a vowel or h mute, the e or a is cut off, and an apostrophe is put instead of the letter omitted. (See page 3.)
From the foregoing remarks it follows that the learner is to translate the English article
The, by :
́le before a noun masculine singular.
la before a noun feminine singular.
ľ before a noun, either masculine or feminine
A oran is trans-j un before a noun masculine.
The English prepositions to and at are generally rendered in French by à; and of and from by de, or dif the word begins with a vowel or an h mute.
The father.-The mother.-The children.-The brother.— enfants pl. frère m.
The sister.-The uncle.-The aunt.-The relations.-A son.tante f. parents pl. fils m. The women. A boy.
homme h m. femmes pl.
The moon. The
CONTRACTION OF THE ARTICLE.
When the prepositions à (to or at) or de (of or from) precede the article le before à noun masculine singular, beginning with a consonant or h aspirated, we contract à le into au, and de le into du; and before plural nouns of either gender, à les is changed into aux, and de les into des.
A and de are not contracted with le before nouns which begin with a vowel or h mute, but then the article suffers elision.
Nor are à and de ever contracted with la.
(before a noun masculine singular, beginning with a consonant or h aspirated.
before a noun feminine singular, beginning with a consonant, or h aspirated.
before a noun masculine or feminine, in the singular, beginning with a vowel, or h mute. before any noun in the plural.
To a, to an, at a, at an, are translated by: Of or from a or an, by :
Í before a noun masculine singular, beginning
à un before a noun masculine.
To the king.-To the queen.- To the hero.-To the scholars.
héros h asp.
écoliers pl. Of the master. Of the house.-Of the church.-Of the coat.maître m.
habit h m. Of the curtains.-To a dictionary.-Of a grammar.-To a pen. rideaux pl. dictionnaire m. grammaire f. plume f. -Of a penknife.-At the hotel. From the garden.-To the
To a watch.-From a clock.
hotel h m,
harpe f. h asp.
Of the ladies.-At an inn. dames pl.
GENERAL RULES ON THE ARTICLE.
I. The article must always agree in gender and number with its noun.
II. The article and the prepositions à and de, whether contracted or not, are generally repeated in French before every substantive, although often omitted in English.
Le lis est le symbole de la candeur, | The lily is the emblem of candour, de l'innocence et de la pureté. innocence and purity.
is the king of animals.-The rose is the est roi m. art. animaux pl.
vices.-The love of art. - pl.
life is natural to man.
amour m. art. vie f. naturel art. homme hm.
She (is learning) drawing,
music, and dancing.
Elle apprend art. dessin m. art. musique f. et
art. danse f.
III. OF THE ARTICLE du, de la, de l', des, USED IN A PARTITIVE SENSE, i.e. implying a part, not the whole.
Du for the masculine, de la for the feminine, de l' before a vowel or h mute, des for the plural, answering to the English partitive words SOME or ANY expressed or understood, must be repeated before every noun in French.
Envoyez-moi du pain, de la viande, | Send me some bread, meat, and et des raisins.
Avez-vous de la monnaie ?
Have you any change?
Give me some paper, ink, and pens.
papier m. encre f. et plumes pl. Prenez - (Put in) some sugar and cream.
some tea or coffee.
thé m. ou café m. Mettez-y
Offer him some cheese,
Offrez-lui fromage m. aufs pl.
or some water.
hachis m. h asp. Apportez-moi huile h m. moutarde f.
pepper, and salt.
Bring me some oil,
Have you any money?
OF THE SUBSTANTIVE OR NOUN.
A Substantive or Noun is the name of any person or thing that exists, or of which we have any notion: as, Alexandre, Alexander; Londres, London; homme, man; vertu, virtue.
Substantives are either proper or common.
The substantive proper, or proper name, is the name appropriated to one person, or one thing only: as, Bonaparte, Paris.
The common noun is that which belongs to persons, or things of the same kind: as, homme, man; arbre, tree; which appellation equally suits all men, all trees.
Among common nouns, we must distinguish the collective nouns; so called, because, although used in the singular number, they present to the mind the idea of several persons or things.
Collective nouns are divided into general and partitive. The former express a whole body: as, armée, army; forêt, forest. The latter express only a partial number: as, multitude, a multitude; quantité, a quantity.
OF THE FORMATION OF THE PLURAL OF FRENCH SUBSTANTIVES.
THE plural of Substantives, either masculine or feminine, is formed by adding an s to the singular; as,
It was formerly the practice to leave out the t in the plural of substantives and adjectives ending in ant and ent, but at present the adjective tout (all) is the only word that drops the t in the plural masculine;
Tous les parents.
Tous les habitants. (L'Académie.)
All the relations.
To tout might be added gent, plural gens; but gent singular is only used in familiar poetry; as, la gent marécageuse, the marshy tribe.