French Adjectives

Beginner French - Level A1

Overview

As mentioned earlier, an adjective is a word that describes a noun. Unlike in English, French adjectives agree with the noun’s gender and number.  An adjective is an important element to any language. These words tell the listener or the reader what something looks, feels, smells or sounds like. Adjectives are known as descriptive words.

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French A1

 

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French Adjectives

An adjective is a descriptive word. It describes a noun or a pronoun. In the English sentences below, the adjective is italicized and the word that it is describing is underlined.

 I have a big dog.

I love this yellow birdhouse.

She is so energetic!

In French, there are several forms of adjectives. As usual, they are either in their masculine, feminine, plural, or preceding-vowel form depending on what is being described. The most common form of writing adjectives in French is to start with the masculine singular form and add letters to the end of the word where needed. This concept is outlined in the table below with the example intelligent.

Intelligent - Intelligent/Smart

Form

Rule

Adjective

Example

Masculine Singular

Default

Intelligent

Il est intelligent!

Feminine Singular

Add -e to masculine singular form

Intelligente

C'est une fille intelligente.

Masculine Plural

Add -s to masculine singular form

Intelligents

Les élèves sont très intelligents!

Feminine Plural

Add -es to masculine singular form

Intelligentes

Les deux sœurs ne sont pas intelligentes.

 

Note: Before, the gender of plural nouns was not important for choosing definite/indefinite/partitive articles. However, you should know the gender of the plural nouns that you wish to describe as their adjective spellings will change for each.

Other Adjective Rules:

Masculin adjective ending in...

Change to… in order to make it feminine

Examples

Masc. → Fem.

Translation

-l

-lle

gentil → gentille

nice

-et

-ète

inquiet → inquiète

worried

-teur

-trice

manipulateur → manipulatrice

manipulative

-f

ive

actif → active

active/sporty

-x

-se

heureux → heureuse

happy

-er

-ère

cher → chère

expensive

-el

-elle

cruel → cruelle

cruel

-an, -en, -on

-anne, -enne, -onne

bon → bonne

good

 

Note: There are several other adjective forms as well as a variety of irregular adjective spellings (which don’t follow any rule/pattern).

Adjective Placement

Unlike in the English examples above, the French adjective most often follows the word that it is describing. Look how these French sentences would translate literally to English:

Le héros courageux a sauvé le peuple.

Literal English translation: The hero courageous saved the people.

Actual meaning: The courageous hero saved the people.

 

J’étudie (study) avec les garçons drôles de la classe.

Literal English translation: I study with the boys funny of the class.

Actual meaning: I study with the funny boys of the class.

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Alexa teaches you 25 really useful French adjectives and their opposites.
-credit: Learn French with Alexa

List of Common French Adjectives

 

âgé old/elderly
amical friendly
ancien old, ancient, time-honored, antique; former, ex; senior
argenté/e silver
assuré confident
autre distinct, different; supplementary; other, remaining
beau beautiful (with masculine word), good-looking, handsome, lovely, fine; noble; nice, tidy, good
belle beautiful (with feminine person or noun)/ pretty
bizarre odd, peculiar, strange
blanc white; Caucasian; blank; innocent, pure
bleu blue
bon good, sound; valid; nice; right, correct; proper
bronzé tan
brun/e (or) marron brown
certain definite, positive, clear, certain
chaud warm, hot; ardent, keen; horny
cher dear, beloved; expensive
clair light, bright; clear; thin, sparse; obvious
confus embarrassed, confused, ashamed
content happy, glad, pleased
courageux brave
dernier last, final; previous; bottom; highest, top
désolé apologetic, contrite, sorry; disconsolate, sorrowful; desolate, bleak
désorienté confused
différent different
difficile difficult, hard, tough
doré/e gold
doux soft, smooth, sweet, milk
droit straight; upright, plumb; honest, sound, sane
drôle comical, funny, amusing; strange, funny, peculiar
du brouillard (il y a) foggy
du soleil (il y a) sunny
du vent (il y a) windy
effrayé scared
ennuyé annoyed
ennuyeux boring
entier whole, entire; absolute, complete; intact
épuisé exhausted
étrange strange, odd
fâché angry
facile easy
faible weak (person, object)
fatigué tired
faux wrong, untrue, false, mistaken; fake, forged, imitation, counterfeit
fort strong, sturdy, powerful, hard, weighty; big, thick, stout, large; intense
frais cool
français French
froid cold, chilly; insensitive, unfeeling; unfriendly; bleak
gèle freezing
gentil kind, nice, sweet
grand tall, big, large, long, great, full-grown; major, top, leading, important
grave grave, solemn; serious; major / totally (slang)
gris/e gray
gros large, big, thick; fat, heavy
haut high, tall; top; lofty, high-minded
heureux happy, glad, lucky, fortunate
humain human; humane
humide humid
impatient impatient
important important, significant, serious; substantial, large, sizeable, considerable
impossible impossible; unbearable; intolerable
inquiet worried
intelligent smart
intéressant interesting
jaune yellow
jeune young, green
joli pretty, lovely, nice, attractive
juste fair; just, legitimate; right
léger light, subtle, superficial
libre free; available; vacant
long, longue long
lourd heavy
malade ill, sick, unwell; bad, diseased; mentally ill
mauvais bad, poor; wrong, faulty; unpleasant, nasty
méchant mean
meilleur better, superior
même same
mince thin
moche, laid ugly
mort dead; buried, long-gone; lifeless, dull, stagnant
naïf naive
navré sorry
neige snowing
nerveux nervous
noir black; dirty, grimy; dark; gloomy, somber
nouveau new, young; latest; further; novel, original
nuageux cloudy
orageux stormy
orange orange
ouvert outgoing
pareil the same, alike, similar; such (a)
paresseux lazy
patient patient
patriotique patriotic
pauvre poor; humble, wretched
petit small, little, short; younger; brief; slight, minor
plein full; solid; busy (as in day or life)
pleut raining
pleut à verse pouring
possible possible, feasible
premier early; nearest; next, first; main; chief, leading; original, initial
pressé in a hurry
prêt ready
prochain next; imminent, near; immediate
propre clean, neat, tidy; own, private
ravi delighted
rose pink
rouge red
sale dirty, filthy, murky, grimy; nasty
sérieux serious, solemn, responsible; conscientious
seul alone, on one's own; lonely, lonesome; only, single, sole; mere
simple straightforward, simple, easy; mere; uncomplicated
solitaire lonely
sportif athletic
stupide stupid
super great, terrific
sympa nice
timide shy
tout all (the), the whole (of the); all; completely; only
tranquille quiet, peaceful, tranquil, calm. still
travailleur hard-working
triste sad, unhappy, sorrowful
vert green; inexperienced
vide empty; bare
vieille old (feminine)
vieux old (masculine), long-standing, ancient
violet purple
vivant living, alive; lively, spirited, bustling; vivid
vrai true; genuine, real; complete, utter; straightforward

Directions: Use the Quizlet vocabulary set on adjectives to complete each blank.  Remember to choose between the masculine, feminine, and plural forms.

  1. À la maison, Isabel est __________. (lazy)
  2. L’enfant _________ a chanté une belle chanson. (gifted)
  3. Elles ne veulent pas de classes avec les professeurs ___________. (mean)

Directions: According to the rules above, change the following French adjectives from their masculine form (given) to their feminine form.

  1. Adventureux → …
  2. Essentiel → …
  3. Naïf → …

Answers and Translation:

  1. À la maison, Isabel est paresseuse. / At the house, Isabel is lazy.
  2. L’enfant doué a chanté une belle chanson. / The gifted child sang a beautiful song.
  3. Elles ne veulent pas de classes avec les professeurs chants. / They do not want any classes with the mean professeurs.
  4. Adventureuse
  5. Essentielle
  6. Naïve

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