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One of the eight parts of speech, adjectives are a type of modifier; that is, they modify or describe nouns in a certain way, letting you know the size, shape, weight, color, nationality, or any of a myriad other possible qualities of nouns.
Adjectives serve the same purpose in French and English, but they are very different in other respects.
Characteristics of French Adjectives
- Modify nouns
- Must agree in gender and number with nouns
- Usually follow nouns
- May be modified by adverbs
Gender and Number of French Adjectives
English adjectives have a single form, but French adjectives can have up to 4* forms, according to the gender and number of the nouns they modify:
|masculine singular||masculine plural|
|feminine singular||feminine plural|
If you’ve already studied the noun lesson, some of these rules will look familiar.
1) Masculine singular is the default form, to which the feminine and/or plural endings are added. For regular adjectives,** these endings are -e for feminine and -s for plural.
|le petit verre||les petits verres|
|la petite tasse||les petites tasses|
2) When the masculine adjective ends in -s or -x, the masculine singular and plural forms are the same.
|Il est surpris.||Ils sont surpris.|
|Elle est surprise.||Elles sont surprises.|
3) When the default form of the adjective ends in -a, -e, or -o, the masculine and feminine forms are the same.
|un homme calme||des hommes calmes|
|une femme calme||des femmes calmes|
See the links to irregular feminine and plural forms at the end of this lesson.
* There are a few adjectives that have 5 forms.
Adjective Agreement Quizzes
Think you’ve got it? Test yourself on French adjectives with these fill-in-the-blank exercises:
French nouns and adjectives
- Introduction to adjectives
- Irregular feminine forms
- Irregular plurals
- Irregular adjectives (beau, fou, mou, nouveau, vieux)
- Adjective position
- Adjectives with prepositions
- Adjectives functioning as adverbs
- Invariable adjectives
- Movable adjectives
- Types of adjectives
- PwLF super list of adjective lessons
- Impersonal expressions: Il est / C’est + adjective
- Parts of speech
- Beach Time: Color Adjectives (Worksheet, 4th-1th grade)
- Describing Family (Lesson, 1st-6th grade)
- La Graphologie (Lesson, 9th-12th grade)
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