Adjectives in French for Beginners (With Examples)

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Learn Adjectives in French for Beginners: Bring Life To Your Sentences

Ah, adjectives in French! Those colourful descriptors bring life to your sentences. No matter what emotion, adjectives effectively enhance an action done or being done, especially the flamboyance of France! Though French pronunciation seems complicated at times, incorporating adjectives into your sentences can help you grasp the language better, and even take it to the next level. This guide will break down the basics of French adjectives for beginners, providing you with essential vocabulary and usage rules. Ready, set, lingo!


Adjectives in French: Overview

Adjectives in French are words that describe nouns. They tell you more about the qualities or characteristics of someone or something.  Here are some key points about French adjectives:

  1. Agreement: Unlike English, French adjectives need to agree with the noun they describe in gender (masculine/feminine) and number (singular/plural).
  2. Placement: Most adjectives come before the noun, but there are some exceptions for specific categories like colour and size.
  3. Irregular forms: A few common adjectives have different forms for masculine and feminine, which you’ll need to memorize.

Overall, mastering French adjectives takes practice, but with the right approach, you’ll be well on your way to adding colourful details to your French sentences!

Also Read: The Ultimate Guide to French Nouns For Beginners

Making Your Mark: Basic French Adjectives

Let’s begin with some essential adjectives you’ll encounter frequently. Here are some common ones, along with their English translations and masculine/feminine variations:

Grand(e) (Big/Tall)Un grand verre (A big glass), Une grande maison (A big house)
Petit(e) (Small)Un petit chien (A small dog), Une petite fille (A little girl)
Bon(ne) (Good)Un bon repas (A good meal), Une bonne idée (A good idea)
Mauvais(e) (Bad)Un mauvais film (A bad movie), Une mauvaise habitude (A bad habit)
Beau/Belle (Beautiful)Un beau jour (A beautiful day), Une belle robe (A beautiful dress)
Joli(e) (Pretty)Un joli gâteau (A pretty cake), Une jolie fleur (A pretty flower)
Froid(e) (Cold)Il fait froid (It’s cold), Une eau froide (Cold water)
Chaud(e) (Hot)J’ai chaud (I’m hot), Une soupe chaude (Hot soup)

Bonus Tip: Notice how most adjectives change depending on the noun they describe (masculine vs. feminine). We’ll cover this agreement rule in more detail later.

Adding Spice: More Descriptive French Adjectives

Now that you have the basics, let’s explore some adjectives that add more flavour to your descriptions:

Sympa (Nice)C’est un type sympa (He’s a nice guy)
Drôle (Funny)Ce film est drôle (This movie is funny)
Intéressant(e) (Interesting)Un livre intéressant (An interesting book)
Facile (Easy)C’est facile à comprendre (It’s easy to understand)
Difficile (Difficult)Cet exercice est difficile (This exercise is difficult)
Nouveau/Nouvelle (New)Une nouvelle voiture (A new car)
Vieux/Vieille (Old) Un vieil immeuble (An old building)
Grand(e) (Great)J’ai passé un grand moment (I had a great time)

Remember: Not all adjectives follow the same masculine/feminine pattern. Some, like “facile” and “difficile,” remain unchanged.

Also Read: Mastering French Pronouns: A Complete Guide 

Making Agreements: Adjective Placement and Gender

French is a language that loves agreement! This means adjectives need to match the gender and number (singular/plural) of the noun they describe. There are two main adjective placements:

  1. Pre-noun placement: Most adjectives come before the noun. Ex – Une belle fleur (A beautiful flower), Des grands arbres (Big trees)
  1. Post-noun placement: A few adjectives, like those describing colour, size, shape, nationality, and origin, come after the noun. Ex – La robe rouge (The red dress), Le livre français (The French book)

Here’s a trick: If you can replace the adjective with “very” in English and the sentence still sounds grammatically correct, the adjective usually goes before the noun in French. (e.g.,  A very big house = Une très grande maison)

Beyond the Basics: Special Cases

French adjectives have a few quirks you’ll encounter as you progress. Here are two important ones:

Liason: Sometimes, a silent “e” is added at the end of a masculine adjective placed before a vowel sound to create a smoother pronunciation. Le petit ami (The little friend) becomes Le petit eami

Irregular Adjectives:  A few common adjectives have irregular masculine/feminine forms. You’ll need to memorize these:

  • Bon/Bonne (Good)
  • Beau/Belle (Beautiful)
  • Mauvais/Mauvaise (Bad)
  • Grand/Grande (Big/Tall)
  • Petit/Petite (Small)
  • Nouveau/Nouvelle (New)
  • Vieux/Vieille (Old)

Bonus Tip: There’s a handy mnemonic to remember some irregular feminines: “Belles (Beautiful) filles (girls) mangent (eat) de (of) bonnes (good) pommes (apples).”

Adjectives in French Quiz

Now that you’re armed with the basics, here are some exercises to solidify your understanding of French adjectives:

Fill in the Blanks: Choose the correct adjective form to complete the sentence.

  • J’habite dans un appartement (grand/grande). (I live in a big apartment.)
  • La tour Eiffel est une structure (historique/historiques). (The Eiffel Tower is a historical structure.)
  • C’est un acteur (drôle/drôles). (He’s a funny actor.)

Describe It!: Choose 2 adjectives from each category (size, colour, origin) to describe an object you see around you.

Size: petit(e), grand(e), moyen(ne) (small, big, medium)

Color: rouge, bleu(e), vert(e) (red, blue, green)

Origin: français(e), italien(ne), espagnol(e) (French, Italian, Spanish)

Example: J’ai un stylo (petit) (bleu) (français). (I have a small blue French pen.)

Sentence Construction: Using the vocabulary you’ve learned, create your own sentences to describe your day, a person you know, or a place you’ve visited.

Remember: Practice is key! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – that’s how you learn. Read French texts, listen to conversations, and use these adjectives whenever you can. There are many online resources and apps to help you practice as well.

French adjectives might seem daunting at first, but with a little practice, you’ll use them to paint vivid pictures with your words. Bon courage (Good luck)!

Relevant Reads:

Verbs in French: Check Out The List of Common French VerbsArticles in French Made Easy: A Cheat Sheet for Beginners
Beyond Salut: Introducing Yourself in French As A Beginner50+ Basic French Language Words You Need to Know Before Getting Started
Counting From 1 to 100: A Journey in French Numbers10 Easy Tips to Learn a New Language As a Novice!


Q.1 What are adjectives in French?

Answer: In French, adjectives are words that describe nouns. They tell you more about the qualities or characteristics of someone or something.

Q.2 What are positive adjectives to describe someone in French?

Answer: Here are some positive adjectives in French you can use to describe someone to help you paint a well-rounded picture:

a) Sympa – Nice
b) Gentille/Gentil – Kind
c) Intelligent(e) – Intelligent
d) Drôle – Funny
e) Intéressant(e) – Interesting
f) Beau/Belle – Beautiful
g) Joli(e) – Pretty
h) Élégant(e) – Elegant
i) Charmant(e) – Charming
j) Mince/Minceur – Slim
k) Ouvert(e) – Open-minded
l) Enjoué(e) – Playful
m) Sociable – Sociable
n) Attentionné(e) – Caring
o) Patient(e) – Patient
p) Talentueux/Talentueuse – Talented
q) Compétent(e) – Competent
r) Fort(e) – Strong (used physically and metaphorically)
s) Adroit(e) – Skilled

Q.3 What are the 20 adjectives in French with meaning?

Here’s a list of 20 adjectives in French with their meanings:

a) Grand(e) – Big/Tall
b) Petit(e) – Small
c) Bon(ne) – Good
d) Mauvais(e) – Bad
e) Beau/Belle – Beautiful
f) Joli(e) – Pretty
g) Froid(e) – Cold
h) Chaud(e) – Hot
i) Sympa – Nice
j) Drôle – Funny
k) Intéressant(e) – Interesting
l) Facile – Easy
m) Difficile – Difficult
n) Nouveau/Nouvelle – New
o) Vieux/Vieille – Old
p) Grand(e) – Great (Note: Used differently than size)
q) Actif/Active – Active
r) Intelligent(e) – Intelligent
s) Parfait(e) – Perfect
t) Délicieux/Délicieuse – Delicious

So this was all about adjectives in French for beginners, we hope this blog was helpful. Stay tuned to Leverage Edu for more informative content on the French language daily.

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