Adjective Position

French adjective position
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Position des adjectifs

French adjectives may be found before or after the nouns they modify, depending on various factors. There are two main categories of adjectives: descriptive adjectives, which usually follow nouns, and limiting adjectives, which precede nouns.

1) Descriptive adjectives

Descriptive adjectives are what you think of when someone says "adjective." Also known as qualifying adjectives, they describe a quality of a noun (color, size, shape …), distinguish between different nouns of the same type, and usually* follow the nouns they modify.

Par exemple…

le livre vert   the green book
le livre rouge   the red book


A. Descriptive adjectives aren’t necessarily placed right next to the nouns they modify:

Le livre est vert.   The book is green.
Un des stylos doit être bleu.   One of the pens has to be blue.

B. They can be modified by comparatives and superlatives:

le livre moins intéressant   the less interesting book
la plus belle maison   the prettiest house

C. And they can be used in conjunction with other descriptive adjectives:

le livre vert et rouge   the green and red book
la belle maison gothique   the beautiful Gothic house

 * There are a few dozen French adjectives that precede nouns. Most of these can be memorized with the simple acronym BAGS:

Beauty une belle fille
un joli appartement
a beautiful girl
a nice apartment
Age un jeune homme
une vieille dame
a young man
an old woman
Good and bad une bonne idée
un mauvais restaurant
a good idea
a bad restaurant
Size un grand livre
une petite maison
a big book
a small house

Also see Adjectives that change meaning depending on their placement

2) Limiting adjectives

Limiting adjectives belong to the category of terms known as determiners: they specify which nouns are under discussion and always precede them.

Par exemple…

mon livre   my book
ton livre   your book

Limiting adjectives can be used in conjunction with descriptive adjectives ….

mon livre vert   my green book
cette belle maison   this beautiful house

… but not with other determiners (with a few exceptions).

ce mon livre
une quelle maison

Types of limiting adjectives

 French adjectives

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Position of French adjectives

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