French

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  • Topic: Grammatical number, Grammatical gender, Latin
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Position of French Adjectives
Position d'adjectifs
An adjective is a word that modifies a noun by describing it in some way: shape, color, size, nationality, etc. French adjectives are very different from English adjectives in two ways:

1. French adjectives change to agree in gender and number with the nouns that they modify, which means there can be up to four forms of each adjective:

Adjective: joli (pretty)
   Masculine singular   joli
   Feminine singular   jolie
   Masculine plural   jolis
   Feminine plural   jolies

Learn more: Agreement of French adjectives

2. In English, adjectives are always found in front of the noun, but most French adjectives follow the noun they modify:

   un livre vert - green book
   un professeur intelligent - smart teacher

But there are some French adjectives that precede the noun:

   un beau garçon - handsome boy
   un petit verre - small glass
French adjectives change to agree in gender and number with the nouns that they modify, which means there can be up to four forms of each adjective. The different forms for adjectives depend mostly on the final letter(s) of the default form of the adjective, which is the masculine singular.

Most French adjectives add E for feminine and S for plural. This rule applies to adjectives that end in most consonants as well as all vowels except the unaccented E. It also includes all regular and most irregular present participles and past participles:

Adjective: vert (green)
   Masculine singular   vert
   Feminine singular   verte
   Masculine plural   verts
   Feminine plural   vertes

Adjective: bleu (blue)
   Masculine singular   bleu
   Feminine singular   bleue
   Masculine plural   bleus
   Feminine plural   bleues

Adjective: amusant (funny)
   Masculine singular   amusant
   Feminine singular   amusante
   Masculine plural   amusants
   Feminine plural   amusantes

Adjective: épicé (spicy)
   Masculine singular   épicé
   Feminine singular   épicée
   Masculine plural   épicés
   Feminine plural   épicées
When the masculine singular adjective ends in an unaccented E, there is no difference between the masculine and feminine forms:

Adjective: rouge (red)
   Masculine singular   rouge
   Feminine singular   rouge
   Masculine plural   rouges
   Feminine plural   rouges

When the default form of the adjective ends in S or X, there is no difference between the masculine singular and plural forms:

Adjective: gris (grey)
   Masculine singular   gris
   Feminine singular   grise
   Masculine plural   gris
   Feminine plural   grises

While most French adjectives fit into one of the above categories, there are still quite a few that have irregular feminine and/or plural forms.

Quiz: Agreement of French adjectives

Note: These rules are the same for making nouns feminine and plural. Lesson | Quiz

Most French adjectives are regular, but there are a number of irregular adjectives, based on the final letter(s) of the masculine singular adjective.

Adjectives that end in a vowel plus L or N usually become feminine by doubling the consonant before adding E.

Ending: el > elle   Adjective: personnel (personal)
   Masculine singular   personnel
   Feminine singular   personnelle
   Masculine plural   personnels
   Feminine plural   personnelles

Ending: on > onne   Adjective: bon (good)
   Masculine singular   bon
   Feminine singular   bonne
   Masculine plural   bons
   Feminine plural   bonnes

Adjectives that end in er or et need a grave accent:

Ending: er > ère   Adjective: cher (expensive)
   Masculine singular   cher
   Feminine singular   chère
   Masculine plural   chers
   Feminine plural   chères

Ending: et > ète   Adjective: complet (full)
   Masculine singular   complet
   Feminine singular   complète
   Masculine plural   complets
   Feminine plural   complètes

Other final letters lead to very irregular feminine endings:...
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