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When not to use un/une while stating people's occupations or professions in French (Zero Article)

In French, in most cases, indefinite articles un or une are not used when stating a profession or occupation. Learn the different cases in this lesson.  

When to omit the indefinite articles with professions in French

Look at these sentences:

Il est avocat.He is 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 étudiant.Paul is a student.

Je suis retraitée.I'm a pensioner.

In French we don't say un or une (a) when stating someone's profession or occupation with être.
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 in French depending on whether you're a man or a woman (nouns)

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Examples and resources

Ma mère est femme au foyer.My mother is a housewife.
Je suis retraitée.I'm a pensioner.
Baptiste, tu es élève dans cette école.Baptiste, you're a pupil in this school.
Marie est avocate.Marie is a lawyer.
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.
Je suis président. I'm a president.
Je suis vendeur dans un grand magasin.I am a sales assistant in a department store.
Paul est étudiant.Paul is a student.
Il est avocat.He is lawyer.
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