How to contract articles in French (au, aux, du, and des)

how to contract articles in french

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In this grammar lesson you will learn how to contract articles in French.

In this lesson you will learn about:

  • why you have to contract articles
  • what contracts in French
  • what doesn’t contract in French
  • how contractions are used in sentences
  • how you can quiz yourself on how to contract articles in French
  • how Anki Files can be downloaded for how to contract articles in French.

Please refer to the French A1 Curriculum to get a better overview of French grammar, if you are curious about this fits in French A1.

By the end of the lesson, you will know all about how to contract articles in French!

Table of Contents

Why You Have to Contract

When you are going to a location, or are coming from a location, you will use prepositions.

When you go to a location you will use the following preposition

  • à = to/in + (a place)

When you come from a location you will use the following preposition

  • de = from + (a place)

However when these are followed by the definite articles le or les, then these prepositions will contract and form one word.

Let’s take a look at the following example.

Imagine that you wish to say “I’m going to the park”.

le parc

Je vais à le parc. [wrong]

Je vais au parc. [correct]

I’m going to the park.

So instead of saying à le, you would say au as it contracts.

But, how do you know what contracts and what doesn’t?

Well, the following chapters explain exactly that!

What Contracts in French

Preposition + ArticleContraction
à + leau
à + lesaux
de + ledu
des + lesdes

le parc

Je vais au parc.

I’m going to the park.

les toilettes

Je vais aux toilettes.

I’m going to the toilet.

le Canada

Je viens du Canada.

I’m from Canada.

les Etats-Unis

Je viens des Etats-Unis.

I’m from the United States.

What Doesn’t Contract in French

Preposition + ArticleContraction
à + lano contraction
à + l’no contraction
de + lano contraction
de + l’no contraction

la banque

Je vais à la banque.

I’m going to the bank.

l’université

Je vais à l’université.

I’m going to the university.

la maison

Je viens de la maison.

I’m coming from home.

l’hôtel

Je viens de l’hôtel.

I’m coming from the hotel.

Example Sentences on How to Contract Articles in French

The final section of this lesson on how to contract articles in French is about seeing sentences with contractions.

This is valuable because you can improve your understanding on how to contract articles in French through examples.

This section contains all of the previous sentences, neatly organised in one place.

le parc

Je vais au parc.

I’m going to the park.

les toilettes

Je vais aux toilettes.

I’m going to the toilet.

le Canada

Je viens du Canada.

I’m from Canada.

les Etats-Unis

Je viens des Etats-Unis.

I’m from the United States.

la banque

Je vais à la banque.

I’m going to the bank.

l’université

Je vais à l’université.

I’m going to the university.

la maison

Je viens de la maison.

I’m coming from home.

l’hôtel

Je viens de l’hôtel.

I’m coming from the hotel.

Quiz Yourself on How to Contract Articles in French

It’s not enough just to read the article on this subject.

You should test your knowledge to see if you really understood everything, and to be able to repeat the material.

It is also for this reason that it is recommended to download the Anki Decks and do them.

At the end of every lesson you can do a small test.

You will see the sentences of the previous chapter. It is up to you to give the correct answer.

You will either need to fill in the blanks, choose the correct multiple choice option, or both.

Once you are done the correct answer will be shown.

You can redo the quiz as many times as you want!

Fill in the Blank!Je vais parc. [I’m going to the park.]
Fill in the Blank!Je viens Canada. [I’m from Canada.]
Fill in the Blank!Je viens Etats-Unis. [I’m from the United States.]
Fill in the Blank!Je viens maison. [I’m coming from home.]
Fill in the Blank!Je viens ‘hôtel. [I’m coming from the hotel.]

Anki File for How to Contract Articles in French

It is important to do the Anki exercises for this lesson so that you can better remember what you just studied.

By downloading the Anki File for French A1, you can practice every French A1 lesson that is on Language Atlas. This is recommended as you will have every lesson that you need. You shouldn’t miss out on the complete learning experience!

You can also choose to just get the Anki File for French A1 Articles and Nouns. This only has the articles and nouns for French A1.

If you don’t know why you should use Anki, or if you don’t know what Anki is, then please click here.

Anki can be downloaded from here.

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