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

Take the fastest path to fluent French

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)

Want to make sure your French sounds confident? We’ll map your knowledge and give you free lessons to focus on your gaps and mistakes. Start your Brainmap today »

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

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.
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.
Getting that for you now...