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5/22/2009

Adjectives

An adjective is a word that adds information to a


noun by describing it in some way: shape, color,
size, nationality, etc.
French adjectives are different from English
adjectives in two ways:

Form (1)
 French adjectives change to agree in gender and in
number with the nouns that they give information
about.
 This means there can be up to four forms for regular
adjectives:
Exemple : grand (big)

Masculine singular → grand


Feminine singular → grande
Masculine plural → grands
Feminine plural → grandes

Form (2)
Most French adjectives are regular. That means that
they follow the conjugation you just saw.

There are a number of irregular adjectives. You


recognize them by the final letter(s) of the masculine
singular form. These adjectives have a different
feminine form:

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Form (3) different feminine endings


 Ending: el > elle ; on > onne ; c > che ; eur > euse; eux >
euse; f > ve ; adjectives that end in er or et need an
accent grave (étranger – etrangère)

example: bon (good)


Masculine singular → bon
Feminine singular → bonne
Masculine plural → bons
Feminine plural → bonnes

Une bonne idée, un bon repas, les bonnes idées, de bons


plans

Different irregular plurals


 Irregular plurals: The ending al changes to aux in the
masculine plural:
 Exemple: idéal (ideal)
 Masculine singular → idéal
 Feminine singular → idéale
 Masculine plural → idéaux
 Feminine plural → idéales

Difference 2 : place
 In English, adjectives are always found in front of the
noun, but most – not all - French adjectives follow
the noun they modify:

Un ciel bleu – a blue sky


un professeur intelligent – a smart teacher

But there are some – not many, but frequently used


- French adjectives that precede the noun:

un beau jardin – a beautiful garden


une grande bouteille – a big bottle

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Adjectives placed in front of the noun


 beau (belle) - good-looking, beautiful
 bon (bonne) - good
 bref (brève) - brief
 grand - big, large
 haut - high, tall
 Joli - pretty
 mauvais - bad, wrong
 nouveau (nouvelle) -new
 petit(e) - small
 vieux (vieille) - old

Irregular adjectives
On top of that, some of these adjectives are not only
placed in front of the noun; in front of a masculine
noun that begins with a vowel or a mute h they have
special form:

un bel homme - a handsome man


un vieil ami - an old friend

(Very ) irregular adjectives


these adjectives are placed in front of the noun and
they have an extra form

singular  plural
adjective masculine vowel/H feminine masculine feminine
beautiful Beau bel belle beaux belles
new Nouveau nouvel nouvelle nouveaux nouvelles
old Vieux vieil vieille vieux vieilles

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Tips
 First realize that the adjective has different forms and
that some frequently used adjectives are placed in
front of the noun
 Don’t try to memorize this all at once; this
information will gradually take it’s place as you
progress
 Do a lot of exercices: C’est en forgeant qu’on devient
forgeron!