French The Order of Adjectives

Beginner French - Level A1

Overview

What is the word order with French adjectives? In French, the main rule regarding the position of adjectives is that they usually come AFTER the noun, but as always in French, there are exceptions! For example, there is a small group of common adjectives whose meaning changes depending on whether they come before the noun or go after it.

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French The Order of Adjectives

As we learned in Module 10, most French adjectives are placed after the word being described in the sentence. However, there are several exceptions to this rule. These adjectives, understood by the acronym BANGS, are placed before the word being described (as one would do in English).

BANGS

Adjective Examples

Masc. / Fem.

Example Sentence

Translation

Beauty

beau/belle

joli/jolie

La jolie fille s’appelle Ana.

The pretty girl is named Ana.

Age

nouveau/nouvelle

vieux/vieille

jeune

La vieille voiture est rouge.

The old car is red.

Number

un, deux, trois….

premier/première

plusieurs

Il y a plusieurs problèmes au bureau.

There are several problems in the office.

Goodness

bon/bonne

mauvais/mauvaise

Il donne de l’argent aux pauvres - il est un bon homme.

He gives money to the poor - he is a good man.

Size

grand/grande

petit/petite

long/longue

Le grand homme joue au basket.

The tall man plays basketball.

 

BANGS adjectives before a vowel

There are some adjectives that change to either the masculine or feminine forms when it is placed before a word that begins with a vowel. In these instances, these adjectives have a unique spelling. Examples of these adjectives are beau, nouveau, and vieux.

                                    Un bel appartement    A beautiful apartment

                                    Un novel hôpital         A new hospital

                                    Un vieil homme           An old man

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Irregular Adjective Agreement in French.
-credit: Madame Peterson

Directions: Choose which form of the adjective matches the gender and number of the italicized word. Then, rewrite each sentence placing the adjective in the appropriate place (either before or after the word).

  1. La ________ ville _________ a été fondée en 1798. (vieux / vieille )
  2. Le ________ chien ________ s’appelle Max. (petite / petit)
  3. Les sports ont des __________ gles ___________. (intéressant / intéressantes)
  4. Samantha a acheté (bought) un ________ ordinateur _______. (nouveau / nouvel).
  5. Le théâtre au centre-ville a des _________ pièces _________! (fantastiques / fantastique)

Answers and Translation

  1. La vieille ville a été fondée en 1798. / The old city was founded in 1798.
  2. Le petit chien s’appelle Max. / The little dog is named Max.
  3. Les sports ont des règles intéressantes. / Sports have some interesting rules.
  4. Samantha a acheté (bought) un nouvel ordinateur. / Samantha bought a new computer
  5. Le théâtre au centre-ville a des pièces fantastiques! /The theater downtown has some fantastic plays!

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