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  5. "The" seems to be very confus…


"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.

February 16, 2018



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.


Wow, perfect! Thank you.


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.


Another excellent little detail. Thank you! I'm truly enjoying learning. I need to pick up French for work. So you all have been very helpful and motivating. Thanks again.


Thanks for that! I never knew this


Thank-you for asking for and getting the answer to a very important question.


l' is used when the noun begins with a vowel sound.
Le or la (depending on the gender of the noun) is used when the noun begins with a consonant sound.


Fantastic! Thank you as well.


you need to think about mascilan and feminine which make the la and un and in different words makes mascilan le and un


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"


Thank you for responding. Much appreciated.


Salut Grappler.

It's called French Elision, here's a link with some examples: https://www.lawlessfrench.com/pronunciation/elision/

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