Articles are words (or clitics) which serve to introduce and define noun. In English, the articles encode definiteness; they are 'the' (definite) and 'a' (indefinite), and the silent article used with plural indefinite nouns (compare "the cat, a cat, the cats, _ cats").

In French, articles also encode gender, number, and countability.

The definite articles of French
Masculine Feminine
Singular le la
Plural les les
Partitive du de la
Partitive plural des des

Besides definite, indefinite, and partitive articles, there are also zero (silent) and negative articles. The English word "no" can be used this way, e.g. "no cat."

More complex articles[]

In some languages, the article functions as a clitic stem to which other syntactic information can be affixed. This means that the article can also include information about spatial relation, case, or any number of other factors.