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GENERALITIES

An adjective is a word that describes a noun, i.e. it will give you extra information about it. For example, in the sentence 'He is a bright young man', bright and young are two adjectives that describe 'man'.

French adjectives have two features that distinguish them from English adjectives:

  1. They are very often placed after the noun they describe

Ex: un pays pauvre (a poor country)

une région pauvre (a poor region)

le gouvernement anglais (the English government)

une famille anglaise (an English family)

un ciel gris (a greay sky)

la matière grise (the grey matter)

  1. They generally agree in number and gender with the noun they refer to (in other words, the same adjective will have different forms depending on whether the noun it describes is masculine or feminine and singular or plural)

Ex: un homme critiqué (masculin singular - a criticised man)

une politique critiquée (feminin singular - a criticised policy)

des résultats falsifiés (masculin plural - falsified results)

des solutions controversées (feminine plural - debated solutions)

Please note that, as illustrated by those last four examples, past participles can be used as adjectives too (just as in English).

Again, like in English, adjectives can also be linked to the noun they describe by verbs such as être (to be), sembler (to seem) or devenir (to become).

Il est timide. (He is shy)

Elle semble malade. (She seems ill)

Activity: By looking at all the examples used under sections 1) and 2) above, can you work out the general rule regarding adjective agreement in French?



1

Complete the following sentences:

Most adjectives add an to the masculine form to make the feminine form and an to make it plural. In case of an adjective ending with an in its masculine form, there are no changes to make it feminine. In case of an adjective ending with an in its masculin singular form, there are no changes to make it masculine plural, but an is needed to make it feminine singular, to which you need to add an if you want to make it feminine plural.


Word bank: e, e, e, s, s, s

Most adjectives add an e to the masculine form to make the feminine form and an s to make it plural. In case of an adjective ending with an e in its masculine form, there are no changes to make it feminine. In case of an adjective ending with an s in its masculin singular form, there are no changes to make it masculine plural, but an e is needed to make it feminine singular, to which you need to add an s if you want to make it feminine plural.

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