- 1.What is an adjective?
- 2.Function of the French adjectives
- 2.1.The epithet adjective in French
- 2.2.The Adjective attribute of the subject in French
- 3.Endings of regular and irregular French adjectives (The feminine)
- 4.Plural of adjectives in French
- 5.The comparative of French adjectives
- 6.Placement of the French adjectives
- 7.Determinants adjectives
- 7.1.French possessive adjectives
- 7.2.French demonstrative adjectives
- 7.3.French indefinite adjectives
- 7.3.1.The indefinite adjective "tout"
What is an adjective?
Adjectives (French: les adjectifs) in general are qualifying nouns which are used to describe a noun. Also, they tell you more about a person or thing, their appearance and aspects like color, size or other descriptif qualities.
When we speak about using adjectives in the French language it's important to mention that there are differences to the English language.
Adjectives can also be determinants and are several categories:
- Demonstrative adjectives
- Possessive adjectives
- Numeral adjectives
- Indefinite adjectives
- Interrogative adjectives
- Exclamatives adjectives
Function of the French adjectives
The adjective qualifying can be
The epithet adjective in French
We speak of an epithet when the adjective qualifies a noun or a pronoun, without preposition and without verb. It can be deleted, which sometimes requires modifying the determinant.
- Une grande maison. (A big house)
- Une jolie fille. (A beautiful girl)
- Son énorme cadeau. (His huge gift)
- Une femme brave. (A strong woman)
The Adjective attribute of the subject in French
We speak of attribute of the subject when the adjective is used with a verb of state. He agrees with the subject. To verify, we can always replace a verb of state by the verb être
The French state verbs are seven:
- Sembler (To seem)
- Paraitre (To seem)
- Deumerer (To remain)
- Rester (To stay)
- être (To be)
- Devenir (To become)
- Avoir l'air (To look like)
|Epithet adjective||Une grande femme||(A tall woman)|
|Attribute||La femme semblait grande||(The woman seemed tall)|
Endings of regular and irregular French adjectives (The feminine)
The feminine of the adjectives is usually formed by adding an e at the end of the word.
- Un petit garçon -----> une petite fille
- Un mauvais devoir ------> une mauvaise note
But there are many exceptions for adjectives ending in -gu, -ul, -el, -eil, -iel, -ien, -en, -on, -teur, -eau, -ier, -iet.
- The adjectives ending en -eau have their feminine in -elle
- The adjectives ending en -gu have their feminine in -e with a umlet in the e
- The adjectives ending in -ier or -iet have their feminine in ière or iète
- The adjectives ending in -ul, -el, -eil or -iel double their -l and take a final e
- The adjectives ending in -ien, -in or -on double their n and take a final e
- The adjectives ending in -eur can have their feminine in -euse or -eure
- Some adjectives in -teur have their feminine ending in -trice
|beau, nouveau||belle, nouvelle|
|nul, vieil||nulle, vieille|
|meilleur, rêveur||meilleure, rêveuse|
Plural of adjectives in French
French adjectives must agree with the gender and number of nouns they want to modify.
Adjective: grand (big)
Even if the general rule is that the plural ends with -s there are some exceptions !
1. Adjectives ending in -al
All adjectives ending in -al have their plural ending in -aux except for bancal, fatal, naval, final, banal, natal which ends with s
- Des combats fatals (fatal battles)
- Les appartements royaux (Royal apartments)
2. Adjectives ending in -eau and -eu
Those adjectives always have their plural ending in -x
- De beaux cheveux (Beautiful hairs)
- Des villages hébreux. (Hebrew town)
3. Adjectives ending in -s or -x are invariable in the plural
- Un voyage merveilleux (A wonderful trip)
- Un garçon fabuleux (An incredible boy)
All adjectives of colors take an -s in the plural except if they are followed by another adjective.
- Des chemise vertes -----> Des chemises vert clair.
These exceptions only applies to masculine adjectives, if they are to the feminine, they take their plural with -s.
|Singular||Un garçon heureux||Une fille heureuse|
|Plural||Des garçons heureux||Des filles heureuses|
The comparative of French adjectives
The comparative (French: le comparatif) makes it possible to compare two things or two people, using the adverbs plus (superiority), moins (inferiority) or aussi (equality).
In the French, we can find different comparatives
The comparative of superiority: plus + adjective + que
- Mon vélo est plus rapide que le tien. (My bike is faster than yours)
The comparative of inferiority: moins + adjective + que
- Mon vélo est moins rapide que le tien. (My bike is slower than yours)
The comparative of equality: aussi + adjective + aussi
- Mon vélo est aussi rapide que le tien. (My bike is as fast as yours)
Placement of the French adjectives
About the position of the adjectives, most of the adjectives epithets are placed after the name but some are placed before. There are adjectives that can be placed before or after the noun and change the meaning of the sentence.
- Un grand homme (A big man) talks about the big achievement of a man
- Un homme grand (A tall man) talks about the height of a man
- C'est une seule dame (It's only a woman) talks about the number of woman
- C'est une dame seule (It's a lonely woman) talks about the loneliness of a woman
French possessive adjectives
The possessive adjective (French: l'adjectif possessif) is used to designate a possessor. It agrees with the noun it refers to.
|Personal prounouns||Masculine singular||Feminine singular||Feminine/Masculine plural|
In front of the vowels: a, e, i, o, u, h the feminine singular ma, ta, sa becomes mon, ton, son
- École (school) is a feminine noun so we should say "ma école" but because of the e we say "mon école"
|Ta tante est vieille||(Your aunt is old)|
|Mon père a acheté une voiture||(My father bought a car)|
|Ses parents sont américains||(Her parents are americans)|
|Votre soeur est une grande dame||(Your sister is a "grande dame")|
French demonstrative adjectives
A demonstrative adjective (French: l'adjectif démonstratif) is used to designate something. We use the demonstrative adjectives ce, cet, cette or ces for the plural nouns. The demonstrative adjective agrees with the name to which it refers.
|Masculine singular||ce, cet|
The masculine singular cet is used in front of vowels a, e, i, o, u, y, h otherwise you use "ce"
|Ce livre||(This book)|
|Cet homme||(This man)|
|Cette soirée||(That night)|
|Ces enfants||(These kids)|
French indefinite adjectives
The indefinite adjective (l'adjectif indefini) express quantity. Quantity is expressed with indefinite adjectives like:
The indefinite adjective "tout"
The indefinite adjective tout agrees with the noun it refers to. And sometimes can be followed by an article.
|Quelques étudiants||(A few students)|
|Plusieurs étudiants||(Several students)|
|Certains étudiants||(Some students)|
|D'autres étudiants||(Others students)|
|Chaque étudiant||(Each student)|
|Tous les étudiants||(All the students)|
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