Using le, la, l', les before nouns when generalising (definite articles)

In French, the definite articles le, la, l', les are used when generalising.

Learn how to use the definite articles in French when generalising

Look at these general statements:

Il déteste le café.He hates coffee.

La vie est compliquée.Life is complicated.

Il apprécie l'alcool avec modération.He enjoys alcohol with moderation.

J'adore les concombres !I love cucumbers!
 

In English, we drop the when talking about things in general, but notice that in French, when talking about things in general or abstractly, you must use le, la, l', or les (the definite article). Also, when using verbs of preference (such as aimer, adorer, détester, haïr, préférer), you must use le, la, l', or les.

ATTENTION:

Whereas partitive articles du, de la, de l', des and indefinite articles un, une become de or d' in negative sentences [See Du/de la/de l'/des all become de/d' in negative sentences (French Partitive Articles) and Un/une become de/d' in negative sentences in French (French Indefinite Articles)], this rule doesn't apply to definite articles le, la, l' or les which remain the same in negative sentences:

On n'aime pas la musique classique.We dont like classical music.

Elle n'aime pas les bonbons.She doesn't like sweets.

 

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Examples and resources

J'adore les concombres !I love cucumbers!
Il apprécie l'alcool avec modération.He enjoys alcohol with moderation.
On n'aime pas la musique classique.We dont like classical music.
Elle aime le chocolat !She loves chocolat!
J'adore la France !I love France!
J'adore les toiles d'araignées !I love spider webs!
Il déteste le café.He hates coffee.
La vie est compliquée.Life is complicated.
Elle n'aime pas les bonbons.She doesn't like sweets.
Le vin blanc me donne des maux de tête.White wine gives me headaches.
Ils cherchent le bonheur.They seek happiness.
Les plantes produisent l’oxygène.Plants produce oxygen.
La nourriture est chère.Food is expensive.
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