"The" seems to be very confusing
Trying to figure out why "the orange" is "l'orange" however "the cat" is "le chat".
Is there a rule for this? I keep making silly mistakes mixing up the way "the" is used.
When Le or La is followed by a word beginning with a vowel or a silent h (l’homme for example) it becomes l’. This makes it more flowing when said out loud. Is is similar to how is English A becomes An in front of a vowel.
In French, there are two types of h’s, but they’re both silent. One is called the h muet, the other one is the h aspiré.
Why is that important? Well, the h muet takes the l’ — like Silvia said, in words like l’homme, l’huile etc.
But — the h aspiré doesn’t take the l’ — it stays le or la
For example in words like le homard (lobster) and loanwords like le hockey and le hamburger. These are just some examples (they are far less common).
It isn’t super important (I’m just being nitpicky) but now if you don’t see l’ before an h you’ll understand what’s going on.
Remember, both the h muet and the h aspiré are silent.
Feminine nouns get "la" such as la pomme masculine nouns get "le" such as le chat in nouns that start with a vowel "the" gets shorted to l' and it does not make a difference the gender of the noun shortening "the" in front words that start with a vowel allows you to be able to say the words without them sounding weird. l'orange just sounds better and is easier to say than if we used "la orange"
It's called French Elision, here's a link with some examples: https://www.lawlessfrench.com/pronunciation/elision/