Adjective Types

French adjectivesAn adjective is something like "a word that describes a noun." If asked to name some adjectives, you might come up with words like small, pretty, and blue - in other words, descriptive adjectives. But did you know that there are many other types of adjectives as well?

   

Adjectives

French adjectivesOne of the eight parts of speech, adjectives are a type of modifier. They serve the same purpose in French and English, but they are very different in two respects.

   

Adjectives Functioning as Adverbs

French adjectives used as adverbsBy definition, adjectives modify nouns. But more than 30 French adjectives can sometimes modify verbs instead, thus taking on the role and characteristics of adverbs, including the fact that they are invariable.

   

   

Adjectives with Prepositions

French adjectives with prepositionsWhen describing someone as capable of doing or determined to do something, a preposition is required between the adjective and verb. In French, the choice of preposition depends on the adjective that precedes it, not the verb that follows.

   

Adverbs of Manner

French adverbsAdverbs of manner express how the action of a verb occurs. In English, the vast majority of adverbs of manner end in -ly, whereas in French, they mostly end in -ment. They are created from adjectives.

   

Agreement

French agreementGrammatical agreement is a vast topic - and one of the banes of French students. While in English we have a few pronouns and adjectives that indicate gender and number (e.g., he/him/his and she/her/hers), in French, agreement is found in 5 of the 8 parts of speech.

   

Agreement with Subjects

French agreement with subjectsThe three French verb constructions which include some form of être plus a past participle usually require grammatical agreement of the past participle with the subject.

   

Apocopes

French apocopes
Many French nouns and adjectives have shortened forms called apocopes, which are created by dropping one or more syllables at the end of the word. Some of these are further modified by adding o to the end.

   

Color Adjectives

French color adjectivesWhen colors are used as adjectives, they usually need to agree with the nouns they modify in gender and number - but there are some notable exceptions.

   

Demonstrative Adjectives

French demonstrative adjectivesCe, cette, cet, and ces are demonstrative adjectives, which are used to indicate a specific noun or nouns. In French, they must agree with the noun(s) in number and sometimes gender.

   

Determiners

French determinersDeterminers are a category of grammatical terms that includes articles, numbers, and non-qualifying adjectives. Unlike qualifying adjectives, determiners serve two functions: they introduce and modify nouns at the same time.

   

Euphonic Adjectives

French euphonic adjectivesFrench grammar is sometimes trumped by pronunciation, as in the case of euphonic adjectives. Because French does not like the hiatus created when a word ending with a vowel precedes a word that begins with a vowel or mute h, a few adjectives change their spelling—and thus their pronunciation—for purely euphonic reasons.

   

Exclamative Adjectives

French exclamative adjectivesTo express admiration, surprise, contempt, or another strong feeling about a noun, you can use the exclamative adjective quel, meaning "what (a)."