Leaving Cert. French Grammar : Adjectives – Position And Formation / Agreement

Leaving Cert. French Grammar : Adjectives – Position And Formation / Agreement

Position

French adjectives are usually placed after the noun which they describe
e.g. Le chien noir

However, there are some exceptions which go before the noun:

 

  1. Autre
  2. Beau
  3. Bon
  4. Grand
  5. Gros
  6. Haut
  7. Jeune
  8. Joli
  9. Long
  10. Mauvais
  11. Méchant
 

  1. Nouveau
  2. Petit
  3. Sot
  4. Vilain
  5. Vieux
  6. Ancien
  7. Vaste
  8. Dernier
  9. Prochain
  10. Premier

Formation / Agreement

Adjectives agree in gender and in number with the nouns they describe.

The general rule of agreement is:

M.S

F.S

F.PL

M.PL

No change Add – e Add – es Add -s

 

e.g.      The little black dogs – Les petits chiens noirs
             The black dress – La robe noire
             The black dresses – Les robes noires
             The black pen – Le stylo noir

 

Exceptions to the above rule:

M.S

F.S

F.PL

M.PL

 

-er

 

-ère

 

-ères

 

-ers

 

e.g. premier première premières premiers
 

-x

 

 

-se

 

-ses

 

-x

e.g. heureux heureuse heureuses heureux
 

-f

 

 

-ve

 

-ves

 

-fs

e.g. sportif sportive sportives sportifs
 

With adjectives ending in -el / -en / -et / -as / -os / -on / -eil, double the last letter and add ‘-e’

 

e.g.

 

naturel

moyen

gros

pareil

 

 

 

naturelle

moyenne

grosse

pareille

 

 

naturelles

moyennes

grosses

pareilles

 

 

naturels

moyens

gros

pareils

 

-c

 

 

-che

 

-ches

 

-cs

e.g. blanc blanche blanches blancs
 

-al

 

 

-ale

 

-ales

 

-aux

e.g. amical amicale amicales amicaux

 

Other exceptions to General Rule:

M.S.

F.S.

M.PL

F.PL

 

Beau

 

 

Belle

 

Beaux

 

Belles

 

Nouveau

 

 

Nouvelle

 

Nouveaux

 

Nouvelles

 

Vieux

 

 

Vieille

 

Vieux

 

Vieilles

 

Roux

 

 

Rousse

 

Roux

 

Rousses

 

Fou

 

 

Folle

 

Fous

 

Folles

 

Mou

 

 

Molle

 

Mous

 

Molles

 

 

Long

 

 

Longue

 

Longs

 

Longues 

 

Note 1:

There are 5 adjectives which have a special spelling if the noun they are describing is Masculine Singular and beginning with a vowel. These are the following:

Ordinary M.S

M.S.  + Vowel

All M.PL

 

Beau

 

 

Bel

 

Beaux

 

Nouveau

 

 

Nouvel

 

Nouveaux

 

Vieux

 

 

Vieil

 

Vieux

 

Fou

 

 

Fol

 

Fous

 

Mou

 

 

Mol

 

Mous

 

Dropping the last 2 letters from the F.S spelling e.g. un bel arbre, un nouvel élève, forms the new spellings
Note 2:

When the word ‘des’ directly precedes any of the list of adjectives which go before the noun, then ‘des’ becomes abbreviated to ‘de’ (or d’… if the next word begins with a vowel) e.g. de jeunes homes, de beaux arbres.

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About the Author

Paul Stenson

Paul lectures in the Irish American University in Dublin’s Merrion Square and has been giving French grinds to both Leaving and Junior Cert students since 2004.
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