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EXCEPTIONS

  1. Agreements

There are, however, some exceptions to the general rules presented above. Indeed, just as it is the case for nouns, there are some irregular patterns of adjective endings that do not follow the rule. Hence adjectives ending in -x in their masculine singular form will remain unchanged when referring to a plural masculine noun, but the -x will change to an -s and the marker -e is added for the feminine form (and another final -s will be added if the noun it refers to is plural).

For example : un milieu poreux, des milieux poreux (porous environment[s])

une roche poreuse, des roches poreuses (porous rock[s])

Here are a few more irregular patterns you might come across:

actif > active (active)

ancien > ancienne (old, former)

bon > bonne (good)

blanc > blanche (white)

faux > fausse (false)

nouveau > nouvelle (new)

Activity: By relying exclusively on the adjective endings, can you indicate the gender and number of each noun they describe?

For example: L'anthropologue décrit des autochtones craintifs.

Autochtones (natives) is masculine plural. 'Craintif' is the masculin singular form of the adjective.



1

Les dessins représentent des divinités masculines.

Given that 'masculin' is the masculine singular form of the adjective, the use of the adjective 'masculines' indicates that 'divinités' is feminine plural. Note that 'dessins' translates as 'drawings'.Vérifier votre réponse

2

Elle est traitée de brebis galeuse.

The word 'brebis' (ewe) is feminine singular. 'galeux' is the masculine singular form of the adjective. Note note the expression 'brebisgaleuse' usually translates as black/lost sheep.Vérifier votre réponse

3

C'est un combat de poids lourds.

Here the adjective 'lourd' takes an '-s' and 'poids' is therefore masculine plural. The expression 'poidslourd' can refer either to heavy transport or heavy weight, but given the context ('combat' is a fight) it is more likely to be the latter. Note that poids always take an '-s' at the end, even in its singular form.Vérifier votre réponse

Note also that there are a few invariable adjectives, thus French colour adjectives derived from nouns, such as animals, flowers or fruits are usually invariable, the same applies to French adjectives borrowed from other languages.

Example: Un drapeau orange, des drapeaux orange (an orange flag, some orange flags)

  1. Position of the adjectives

There are also some adjectives that can be placed before or after the noun but that will have a different meaning depending on their position.

For example: Un homme pauvre = a poor man (moneyless)

Un pauvre homme = a poor man (wretched, miserable)

La preuve même = the very/actual proof

La même preuve = the same proof

Activity: Look at the following sentences and try to see what meaning each of the adjectives (in bold) takes depending on its position in relation to the noun it describes.


1. Mon ancien véhicule était une voiture ancienne.

2. C'est un homme certain qu'il a un certain charme.

3 .Ma chère femme adore les choses chères.

4. La semaine dernière était la dernière semaine de l'année.

5. Ces différents livres ont été écrits par des auteurs très différents.

6. Cette peinture est la preuve même que ce n'est pas le même artiste.

7. Cette pauvre bête appartient à un homme pauvre.

8. Cette femme seule a une seule pièce propre dans sa propre maison.D:\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\QTVEHOA1\MC900053412[1].wmf

9. C'est un simple étudiant qui n'a pas une vie simple.

10. C'est un vrai plaisir de savoir que ce n'est pas une phrase vraie.

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