50 French Adjectives – An Easy Guide

July 23, 2021

Fortunately, in today's lesson, you will find some rules that will make it easier for you to understand how to place and use French adjectives.

In English, adjectives are easy to use. You put them before the nouns they describe, and you are done. So, you would say "a greenhouse" or "a blue bag."

However, in French, the positions of adjectives vary. So, you would say "une maison verte" (lit: a house green) or "un sac bleu" (lit: a bag blue). If this is not enough to puzzle you, French adjectives will also vary depending on whether the noun they describe is feminine, masculine, singular, or plural.

It Goes Before the Noun If…

Remember this little acronym: B-A-N-G-S.

Beauty: Adjectives like beau – beautiful and joli (e) – pretty go before the noun as they are describing beauty.

Age: Adjectives like Vieux/Vieille – old and jeune – young go before the noun.

Numbers: Well, they go in front of the noun

Goodness: Adjectives that we use to say how bad or good something is, like mauvais(e) – bad and bon(ne) – good, will go before the noun.

Size: Adjectives like haut(e) high, gros(se) – fat and petite – small are front-runners as well.

EXCEPTION: Grand(e) used before oneself means “great,” as in un grand homme (a great man), but after oneself means tall. So un homme grand is “a tall man.”

 

An Easy Guide For French Adjectives With Examples

Feminine And Masculine

If you have learned a little French, then you will know the terrible feminine and masculine words, and you may even have heard of the same adjectives. French adjectives must correspond to the person speaking, so men are "grand" (tall), and women are "grande." Add "e" to make it a female adjective.

It may sound quite simple, but the French also have masculine and feminine things! Over time, you will learn to recognize the gender of words. Sometimes there are rules, and sometimes you must know what is feminine and masculine.

Here are some examples of French adjectives (feminine and masculine) with nouns that you may already know:

  • Un bol rond – a round bowl
  • Une assiette ronde – a round plate
  • Un bol rond – a round bowl
  • Une petit blanche – a little door
  • Un petit blanc – a little wall
  • Une télévision neuve – a new television
  • Un ordinateur neuf – a new computer

 

French Adjectives List

French Adjectives

It is a list of the most common descriptive French words. If you add the letter "e" to the end of the word, it will become their feminine equivalent:

  • petit – small
  • grand – tall/big
  • mauvais – bad
  • bon – good
  • belle or beau – beautiful
  • froid – cold
  • gentil – kind
  • chaud – hot

For example, "petit" (small) will become "petite." Likewise, when a word ends in a vowel, then a consonant, we must double the last letter before adding the 'e.' For example, bon/bonne, gentil/gentille.

Note: Some adjectives change entirely when they become feminine. For example, as you saw above, "beau" becomes "belle."

Some French adjectives do not have the equivalent of the feminine. Many of these are French adjectives that already end with the letter 'e.' Here are some common examples of adjectives that stay the same for both genders:

  • bien – good
  • comfortable – comfortable
  • difficile – difficult
  • calme – calm
  • facile – easy
  • riche – rich
  • pauvre – poor
  • propre – clean
  • timide – shy
  • sympathique – kind
  • sale – dirty
  • sympa – kind/nice

Plural

Once you have mastered the masculine and feminine forms, you need to understand the French adjective agreement for plural nouns. Simply put, when we add an "s" to a noun to make it plural, we also need to add an "s" to the adjective.

  1. A big lake– Un grand lac

Two big lakes– Deux grands lacs 

  1. The pink shoe– La chaussure rose

The pink shoes– Les chaussures roses 

Of course, this is the French we are talking about, and things have never been as simple as people imagined! We have seen the feminine gender, we have seen the plural, and now we need to combine the two to create the feminine plural.

  • Les chaises hautes – High chair (meaning = both bar stools and baby high chairs)
  • Les tables basses – Low tables (meaning = coffee tables)

Here is a revision of when to use French adjective agreement with the word "petit":

  • Le petit garçon (masculine singular) – the little boy (masculine singular)
  • La petite fille (feminine singular) – the little girl (feminine singular)
  • Les petits garçons (masculine plural) – the little boys (masculine plural)
  • Les petites filles (feminine plural) – the little girls (feminine plural)

When using plural feminine and masculine objects or talking about females and males, always the default is masculine (e.g., little children = les petits enfants).

 

Other Important And Common French Adjectives

French Adjectives Masculine, Feminine Or CommonEnglish
bon – bonnegood
bon good or well
mauvaís – mauvaisebad
joli – joliepretty
gentil – gentillenice
fort – fortestrong
drôlefunny
bizarreodd
effrayé – effrayéescared
fâché – fâchéeangry
cher – chèreexpensive
courageux – courageusebrave
désorienté – désorientéeconfused
difficiledifficult
lumièrelittle
épuisé – épuiséeexhausted
fatigué – fatiguéetired
gravetotally (slang)
gros – grossefat; heavy
justefair
librefree – available
meilleur – meilleurebetter
nouveaunew
léger - légèrelight
mocheugly
navré – navréesorry
pareil – pareillethe same
pauvrepoor
pressé – presséein a hurry
facileeasy
prêt – prêteready
ravi – raviedelighted
sympanice
tranquillecalm
travailleur – travailleusehardworking
tristesad
videempty
vieux – vieilleold
méchant – méchantemean
inquiet – inquièteworried
haut – hautehigh
bas – basselow
Beau – bellebeautiful
mincethin
douxSoft
clairclear
très bellevery beautiful
dernierlatest
seulonly
Drôlefunny
 Sérieux - sérieuse  serious
French adjectives

 

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That's it, and you now know the most common French adjectives. Practice will enable you to speak fluent French.

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