Describing a noun or adverb is very important in any language and in the French language, giving descriptions happen in varying ways.

Capitalizing French Adjectives

From describing the size, position, and color of the noun to describing its nationality, the French adjectives are written in small letters e.g. rouge (red), grand (big), canadien (Canadian), premier (first).

Thus:

an American woman would be “une femme américaine” (the nationality would be in small letters)

a red bag would be “un sac rouge” (the color would be in small letters)

Gender and Number of adjectives

In the French language, adjectives agree with the gender and number of the noun. Thus

  • If the noun is masculine singular, the adjective would be masculine singular

un grand homme (a big man)

le petit fils (the young son)

  • If the noun is feminine singular, the adjective would be feminine singular

une grande femme (a big woman)

la petite fille (the little girl)

  • If the noun is masculine plural, the adjective would be masculine plural

des grands hommes (some big men)

les petits fils (the small sons)

  • If the noun is feminine plural, the adjective would be feminine plural

des grandes femmes (the big women)

les petites filles (the small girls)

Position of Adjectives

French adjectives can be placed before or after the noun as mentioned before and there are some rules that can help.

  1. Adjectives are mostly placed behind the noun. For example:

La boite rouge (the red box)

Le nez pointu (the pointed nose)

La soeur interessante (the interesting sister)

2. Adjectives that describe beauty, age, goodness (or attitude), and size. For example

  • Beauty: beau (handsome), belle (beautiful), joli (pretty)
  • Age: vieux (old), vielle (old), jeune (young)
  • Goodness: meilleur (better), gentil (nice), bon (good)
  • Size: grand (big), petit (small), gros (fat)

La premiere boite (the first box)

La troisieme femme (the third woman)

There are a number of adjectives that stay both before and after the noun. Read about it in our next article!

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