Don't use un, une when stating people's professions (zero article)

Look at these equivalent sentences:

Il est avocat.
He is a lawyer.

Marie est avocate.
Marie is a lawyer.

Je suis vendeur dans un grand magasin.
I am a sales assistant in a department store.

Paul est médecin.
Paul is a doctor.

In French we don't say un or une (a) when stating someone's profession. 
We literally say "He is a lawyer", or "She is a doctor." 

Also note: the job description changes if the person is feminine or masculine (see gender of professions)

 
ATTENTION:

In French, you always need an article in front of a group including an adjective, and that rule applies to professions:

Lisa est une très bonne vendeuse.
Lisa is a very good sales assistant.

Maurice est un professeur excellent.
Maurice is an excellent teacher.

Vous êtes un mauvais avocat.
You are a bad lawyer.

 

See also Job titles differ depending on whether you're a man or a woman (nouns)

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Lisa est une très bonne vendeuse.
Lisa is a very good sales assistant.



Marie est avocate.
Marie is a lawyer.


Je suis président. 
I'm a president.


Il est avocat.
He is a lawyer.


Vous êtes un mauvais avocat.
You are a bad lawyer.


Paul est médecin.
Paul is a doctor.


Maurice est un professeur excellent.
Maurice is an excellent teacher.


Je suis vendeur dans un grand magasin.
I am a sales assistant in a department store.


Q&A

Peter

Kwiziq community member

29 May 2019

1 reply

Love the lesson. My only issue with the title itself, maybe it should be 'You don't have to say un or une when stating someones profession'

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

31 May 2019

31/05/19

Bonjour Peter !

Thanks for that suggestion : we love it!I've now updated the lesson title accordingly :)

Merci et bonne journée !

Peter

Kwiziq community member

29 May 2019

1 reply

Bonjour / Bonsoir,

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

31 May 2019

31/05/19

not a question....

Sami

Kwiziq community member

22 April 2019

1 reply

Professeur

I can use the word(  professeur) as masculine and feminine.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

7 May 2019

7/05/19

Je suis d'accord avec vous Sami, personnellement je dirais -

'Je suis Professeur de français '

mais beaucoup de mes amies profs tiennent à mettre le -e à la fin ...

Les temps changent et on doit apaiser les lobbies féministes...

 

 

Sami

Kwiziq community member

1 April 2019

2 replies

Grandsons

How can I say in French? My grandsons are active.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

1 April 2019

1/04/19

Mes petits-fils sont très actifs. 

Chris

Kwiziq community member

1 April 2019

1/04/19

Mes petits-fils sont très actifs. 

Joan

Kwiziq community member

4 March 2019

1 reply

Is it correct to conclude as below? Nous/Vous/Je/On/proper noun + article + adjective modified noun

Joan

Kwiziq community member

4 March 2019

4/03/19

I continue my complete question here:

Is it correct to conclude as below? 

1) Nous/Vous/Je/On/proper noun + article + adjective modified noun

2) c'est + article + adjective modified noun (to replace il/elle)

3) ce sont + article + adjective modified noun (to replace ils/elles)

Haloui

Kwiziq community member

26 January 2019

2 replies

How ??

Can we say vous êtes mauvais professeur or vois êtes un mauvais professeur???

Chris

Kwiziq community member

27 January 2019

27/01/19

In this case you would use the second version, with the article. 

Haloui

Kwiziq community member

27 January 2019

27/01/19

Oo okey merci.

Megan

Kwiziq community member

24 August 2018

1 reply

Je veux être (une) avocate

Is un/une needed if I say I want to be a certain profession? Also is it needed for past tense? (Il était (un) professeur, for example)

Chris

Kwiziq community member

24 August 2018

24/08/18

Je veux devenir astronaute. -- I want to become an astronaut. 

Il est dentiste. -- He is dentist. 

There usually is no article needed. 

Frances

Kwiziq community member

20 March 2018

2 replies

typing accents

which letter do I hold to type in the required accent?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

21 March 2018

21/03/18

Use the letter on which the accent appears. So, to type "î" hold down "i" and then type the number corresponding to the desired accent.

-- Chris. 

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

29 June 2018

29/06/18

Hi Frances, 

If you look at the following page, you will find some information on typing accents -

https://french.kwiziq.com/faqs#span_id_accents_span_How_can_I_type_accents

Hope this is helpful!

Nabeel

Kwiziq community member

11 March 2018

2 replies

Je suis un élève

Is it correct or should be considered as a profession like étudiant ?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

12 March 2018

12/03/18

Bonjour Nabeel !

Very interesting question.

Here both could be used, with slightly different contexts.

If you were describing your "professional" situation - i.e. what you do in life - then you would indeed omit the article: 
Je suis pompier, je suis professeur, je suis élève.

However, you could also use Je suis un/une élève in the following contexts:
- if you were mistaken for a teacher, and wanted to contrast your situation:
"I'm a pupil, not a teacher."  -> Je suis un élève, pas un professeur.

- in cases such as "I'm one of his pupils" -> Je suis un de ses élèves.

- if you described what kind of pupil you are:
Je suis un excellent élève.

I hope that's helpful!
Bonne journée !

Claudia

Kwiziq community member

17 August 2018

17/08/18

Hello, I know this is a cultural thing and no one can argue against it but really ... being a student is a profession? I don't think that I'd get too far posting on a resumee that I am a Student as a profession. You don't have to answer, this is me venting. :)

Shruti

Kwiziq community member

24 February 2018

2 replies

Je suis un étudiant. Je suis une étudiante sympathique. C’est correct ?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

24 February 2018

24/02/18

Hi Shruti,

yes, that's correct. "Étudiant vs, étudiante" is a male vs. A female student. 

--  Chris. 

Chris

Kwiziq community member

24 February 2018

24/02/18

Oh, I see, your question was about the article. I think the lesson explains it pretty well. 

Je suis étudiant. 

Je suis un étudiant studieux. 

-- Chris. 

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