French Lessons-French Adectives

French Spoken FrenchFrench Adjectives

Feminine Adjectives in French

Let’s get personal. Do you have a girlfriend? How would you describe her to someone? Is she pretty? Is she short or tall? Or we could talk about your grandmother. Would you say she is funny? Is she strong or frail? In French, since these people are feminine, when you describe them, the adjectives must also be feminine! Did you know that in French, objects can also be feminine? For example, in French, cars are feminine! The word for car, la voiture, is a feminine word! So, now how would you describe your car? Is it fancy? Expensive? What color is it? All of these adjectives must be feminine when you are describing your car.

Examples of Adjectives

Add an ‘e’ at the end of most adjectives to create the feminine form. Some examples of masculine and feminine forms are:
  • grandgrande (tall) – pronounced (grahn) and (grahnduh) with nasal ‘n’ sound
  • jolijolie (pretty) – pronounced (zhoh-lee)
  • bleubleue (blue) – pronounced (bluh)
  • fortforte (strong) – pronounced (fohr) and (fohrtuh)
  • marrantmarrante (funny) pronounced (marrahn) and (marrahn-tuh) with nasal ‘n’ sound
  • fâchéfâchée (angry) pronounced (fah-shay)
When pronouncing these, we do not say the last consonant in the masculine form. When the feminine ‘e’ is added, we hear the last consonant. For example:fort is pronounced like (for), but forte is pronounced similar to (fort) in English. Some adjectives have a slight change in the last consonant before adding the feminine ‘e.’ For example, some adjectives ending in f go from f to ve.
  • sportifsportive (athletic) Pronounced- (sporteef) and (sporteev)
  • créatifcréative (creative) Pronounced- (cray-ah-teef) and (cray-ah-teev)
Pronounce the’ ‘f or the ‘v’ as it is written. Some adjectives double the last consonant before adding the feminine ‘e.’ For example:
  • mignonmignonne (cute) – pronounced (meenyohn) with nasal ‘n,’ and (meenyunn)
  • bonbonne (good) – pronounced (boh-n) with nasal ‘n,’ and (bun)
  • gentilgentille (kind) – pronounced (zhahn-tee) and (zhahn-teeyuh) with nasal ‘n’
The double consonants are pronounced in the feminine form, but usually the single consonants in the masculine form are pronounced nasally or not at all. For instance, pronounce ‘bon’ like the word (bone) but with a nasal ‘n’ sound and ‘bonne’ similar to (buhnn).

Describing Your Car in French

Let’s try some sentences to describe your car!
  • Ma voiture est bleue. (My car is blue.) Pronounced- (mah vwa-teeoor ay bluh)
  • Elle est petite. (It is small.) Pronounced- (el ay puhteetuh).
How about your grandmother? Let’s try describing her:
  • (My grandmother is funny, but my grandfather is also funny.)Ma grand-mère est marrante, mais mon grand-père est aussi marrant.
Pronounced-(mah gran-mayr ay marrantuh may mohn granpayr ay oh-see marran) Notice that the grandfather has the masculine adjective form, and the grandmother has the feminine form of the adjective.

French Possessive Adjectives

French Adjective Agreement: Rules & Practice

French Adjectives: Placement & Examples

Describing People and Things

Sam and Liz are Americans living abroad in Angers, France, and they really want to be able to talk to their neighbors, describe their new neighbors, and talk about what goes on around them without being confusing. There are certain things Sam and Liz will need to remember about words that describe a noun or pronoun, oradjectives, to reach their goal. This includes understanding which adjectives do and don’t conform to normal placement principles.

Normal Placement

The normal or most common placement of adjectives in a French sentence is right behind the word it describes. For example: J’ai un vélo ‘bleu.‘ (I have a blue bike). Elles aiment la langue ‘anglaise.‘ (They like the English language.) Nous sommes vos voisins ‘américains.‘ (We are your American neighbors.) C’est un homme ‘sympa.‘ (He’s a nice man.) Nous avons des voisins ‘sincères.‘ (We have sincere neighbors.) This order is quite different from English as you can see in the translations, and Sam and Liz are going to have to make an extra effort to get this right if they want their French-speaking neighbors to understand them.

BANGS Adjectives

B – BeautyBANGS is an acronym that Sam and Liz can use to remember which adjectives don’t follow the rules. These are describing words that normally come before the noun (there are always exceptions). It stands for:
A – Age
N – Number
G – Goodness
S – Size
Examples of adjectives that fall in each category are as follows:
Beauty beau/belle/beaux/belles joli/jolie/jolis/jolies
Age jeune/jeunes viel/vieux/vieille/vieilles
Number un/deux/trois/quatre/cinq
Goodness bon/bonne/bons/bonnes mauvais/mauvaise/mauvaises
Size grand/grande/grands/grandes petit/petite/petits/petites
Knowing this information, Sam and Liz are able to tell and ask their new neighbor, Monsieur LeClerc, lots of important things: Sam: Vous avez une ‘belle’ voiture! (You have a nice car!) Liz: Est-ce que c’est un ‘bon’ restaurant au coin? (Is the restaurant on the corner good?) M LeClerc: C’est un ‘petit’ restaurant, mais il est bon. (It’s a small restaurant, but it is good.) Sam: Nous avons ‘deux’ chiens. Et vous, vous avez des animaux? (We have two dogs, and do you have any animals?)

Special Adjectives

There are also some special adjectives that don’t follow the normal positioning or BANGS. Sam and Liz have to be really careful with this group of adjectives because this group can be used before or after the nouns they describe, but the meaning changes depending on where they are placed. Here are a few of these used to help out Sam and Liz in their new neighborhood: 1. ancien (old/former)
  • Before a noun: C’est mon ancien voisin. (This is my former neighbor.)
  • After a noun: C’est mon voisin ancien. (This is my ancient neighbor.)
2. cher (dear/expensive)
  • Before a noun: Cher Sam, je t’aime. (Dear Sam, I love you.)
  • After a noun: Cette voiture est chère. (This car is expensive.)

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