Adjectives in French

An adjective is a word that describes a noun e.g. it’s shape, color, size, nationality etc.

They are used differently in French to how they are used in English.

French adjectives agree with the noun they describe.

That’s to say they reflect their gender and number. So a masculine noun will have a masculine adjective and a feminine noun , a feminine adjective.

  • Un homme blond        a blond man
  • Une femme blonde     a blond woman

To make the feminine form of an adjective, you usually have to add –e to the masculine form. (blond /blonde, grand/grande). But of course there are some irregularities…

French adjectives are usually placed after the noun.

In French we see the “thing” first then we describe it:

  • Une voiture rouge (it is a car and it is red )

In English you describe the “thing” first and say what it is after.

  • A red car   (it is red, and it is a car )

But again, not all french adjectives are placed after the noun. That would be too easy!

So, here is a short list of adjectives that are typically placed before the noun. These adjectives usually describe the “age, beauty, size, good or bad” side of nouns. Most are short, one or two syllable words.

French, English,
Bon, Good,
Mauvais, Bad,
Beau, Beautiful,
Joli, Pretty,
Grand, Big,
Petit, Small,
Jeune, Young,
Vieux, Old,
Nouveau, New,
Gros, Fat

You may have noticed that many of them are opposites (Bon/mauvais, grand/petit etc…)

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