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thing, is rendered in French by le for the masculine, la for the feminine, and les, common, for the plural.
DECLENSIONS, WITH THE DEFINITE ARTICLE,
Of a Masculine Substantive, beginning with a Consonant.
le père, the father.
les pères, the fathers.
Of a Feminine Substantive, beginning with a Consonant. la mère, the mother.
les mères, the mothers. de la mère, of or from the des mères, of or from the mother.
mothers. à la mère, to the mother. aux mères, to the mothers.
Of a Substantive of either Gender, beginning with a Vowel
or h mute.
l'homme, the man.
les hommes, the men. de l'homme, of or from the des hommes, of or from the
men. à Phomme, to the man.
aux hommes, to the men. l'enfant, the child.
les enfants, the children. de l'enfant, of or from the des enfants, of or from the child.
children. à l'enfant, to the child.
aux enfants, to the children.
The indefinite article, a or an, is so called, because it is placed before things spoken of indeterminately,
DECLENSIONS WITH THE INDEFINITE ARTICLE.
un frère, a brother.
Une smur, a sister. dun frère, of or from a bro- d'une sæur, of or from a sisther.
ter. à un frère, to a brother. à une sæur, to a sister.
* Observe that du, au, des, aux, are contractions of de le, d le, de les, à les, which are never used.
The partitive article expresses, as its name implies, that the substantive, or thing, is spoken of as of a part, not of a whole; as, Donnez-moi du papier, give me paper; that is, a certain portion of the paper you have. This article is rendered into French by du, de la, de l', or des, according as the substantive is masculine or feminine, singular or plural, and as it begins with a consonant, a vowel, or an h mute; as, du pain, some bread.
de la viande, some meat. des couteaux, some knives.
RULES ON THE DEFINITE ARTICLE.
1. As it has been already observed, French substantives are either masculine or feminine ; the article which is placed before a substantive must therefore agree with it in gender and number.
2. No article is used in English when a substantive is spoken of in a general or total sense ; but in French, the definite article must then be placed before the substantive. Thus, when we say in English, Man is mortal, the word man does not mean one individual only, but all men, and the sentence must therefore be rendered in French by L'homme est mortel ; and when we say Virtue is estimable, as we mean all kind of virtues, we use the definite article in French, and say, La vertu est estimable.
3. When a substantive is taken in a restrictive sense, the definite article is expressed in English, and must also be rendered in French. Thus, when we say, The man whom you have sent me, we do not mean any man, but one particular individual, and say, L'homme que vous m'avez envoyé.
4. When several substantives occur together in a sentence, the article must be repeated before each French substantive. Ex. Le père, La mère, et les frères sont ici ; the father, mother, and brothers are here.
5. An article is also placed before every adjective used as a substantive. Ex. Je préfère le blanc et le rouge AU noir, I prefer white and red to black.
6. The article, though expressed in English, must be omitted in French before a noun expressing a degree of relationship, when that noun is preceded by the name of
the person. Ex. Alexander the son of Philip, Alexandre fils de Philippe. She is the sister of Miss B., Elle est soeur de Mademoiselle B.
7. The article is also omitted in French before nouns expressive of dignity, office, or business. Ex. Mr. D. the governor of India, Monsieur D. Gouverneur des Indes. He is the captain of his company, Il est capitaine de sa compagnie.
8. From the above two rules are to be excepted the sentences in which the verb étre has for its nominative the demonstrative pronoun ce.
Ex. C'est le médecin de mon père, that is my father's physician.
9. The article, though sometimes not used in English, must be always placed in French before names of countries, kingdoms, provinces, rivers, winds, and mountains. Ex. La Russie est un pays fort étendu, Russia is a very extensive country.
LA T'amise est une très-belle rivière, the Thames is a very fine river.
10. But it is omitted before names of countries, when they are governed by the preposition en. Ex. Mon frère est En France, my brother is in France.
11. When the name of a country is coupled with another substantive by the preposition de, the article is not used in French. Ex. Le roi de France, the king of France. Nor do we put the article before a name of country in French, when we speak of coming or returning from it. Ex. Cette lettre vient de France, that letter comes from France. Nous arrivons de Portugal, we arrive from Portugal.
12. In narratives, several substantives are sometimes used together, and the article is omitted in French, in order to give more energy to the sentence; but in this case, the last substantive is immediately followed by tout or tous. Ex. Conscience, honneur, intérêt, tout fut sacrifié ; conscience, honour, interest, everything was sacrificed.
13. When speaking of cases, a rule has been given, (See page 10,) on the formation of the French genitive, and the learner must make use of du, de la, de l', or des, whenever the substantive, used in the genitive, requires the article according to any of the preceding rules. Ex. The king's son, le fils du roi; the queen's portrait, le portrait DE LA reine; the children's attention, l'attention Des enfants.
14. Whenever the preposition to is used in English instead of of, the sign of the genitive case, it must be rendered in French by the preposition de, and not by à. Ex. The Duke of York, brother to the king (or the king's brother), le duc d' York, frère du roi.
RULES ON THE INDEFINITE ARTICLE.
1. This article, which is rendered in French by un for the masculine, and une for the feminine, must agree in gender with the substantive to which it is prefixed. Ex. Here is a book and a slate, voici un livre et une ardoise.
2. When the English article a or an precedes a noun expressive of measure, weight, or number, it must be rendered into French by the definite article. Ex. A crown a bushel, un écu Le boisseau.
3. If it precede a noun expressive of time, it may be expressed by the definite article, or the preposition par. Ex. Five shillings a week, cinq chelins la semaine, or par semaine,
4. The indefinite article, though used in English, must be omitted in French before a noun expressive of a title, dignity, office, trade, or of the native country of a person. Ex. Are you an Italian? étes-vous Italien ? He is a merchant, il est négociant.
5. If the noun expressing a title, dignity, &c. be qualified by an adjective or any other word, the indefinite article must be expressed in French, as well as in Eng. lish. Ex. I am an unfortunate prince, je suis un prince malheureux.
6. And if the noun, to which the English article a or an is prefixed, comes immediately after a verb which has for its nominative case the demonstrative pronoun ce or c', the indefinite article must be expressed in French, whether the substantive be qualified or not. Ex. He is an officer, c'est UN officier. She was an excellent princess, c'était une excellente princesse. That is a German, c'est un Allemand,
RULES ON THE PARTITIVE ARTICLE.
1. The partitive article is used in French whenever the word some or any is expressed or understood before the
substantive. Ex. Bread and water are sufficient for him, du pain et DE L'eau lui suffisent. Give him some money, donnez-lui de l'argent. Have you any wine ? avez-vous DU vin?
2. But if an adjective precede the substantive, instead of the partitive article, we use de or d'. Ex. Bad wine, de mauvais vin. Excellent bread, d'excellent pain.
3. When the substantive is preceded by a word expressive of quantity, such as beaucoup, much or many ; tant, so much or so many; peu, little; plus, more; trop, too much, too many; moins, less ; &c., de or – is also used instead of the partitive article. Ex. He has many friends, il a BEAUCOUP d'amis.
The adverb bien, much or many, is the only exception to the above rule. Ex. He has much merit, il a BIEN DU mérite.
4. When the expressions quelque chose, something; rien, nothing; que, what; sorte, kind; espèce, species, precede a substantive, the substantive takes the preposition de or d', and not the article. Ex. I do not like those kind of books, je n'aime pas cette sorte de livres. What a noise
make! que de bruit vous faites !
5. De or d' is also used before a substantive, instead of the partitive article, when the verb is used negatively. Ex. He has not any books, il n'a pas de livres. Make no remarks, ne faites pas
d'observations. 6. But if the substantive is used restrictively by the addition of an adjective, or any other word, it takes the partitive article, though the verb be used negatively. Ex. Make no useless remarks, ne faites pas des observations inutiles.
QUESTIONS FOR EXAMINATION.
ON THE ARTICLE.
many sorts of articles are there in French ?