French Adjectives 2 Plurals

coffee-cream

The French adjectives can also have a plural form which can also be masculine or feminine. Here are the rules that you need to apply:

Adding ” -s” to the adjective

They agree in number and gender, as usual. Normally, all you need to do is to add ” s” to the adjective in the singular.

Singular Plural
Masculine un étudiant américain des étudiants américains
Feminine une étudiante américaine des étudiantes américaines

The “-x” or “-s” at the End

If the adjective ends in “-x “  or “-s “ its plural form stays the same. The same goes for the plural feminine forms.

Singular Plural
un choix malheureux

! une femme malheureuse

des choix malheureux

! des femmes malheureuses

un immeuble bas des immeubles bas
un homme jaloux des hommes jaloux

 

Adjectives with “-al”

If the adjectives ends in “-al ”, it becomes “-aux” in plural.

Singular Plural
Masculine un livre original des livres originaux
un cas normal des cas normaux
un cas social des cas sociaux
! Feminine ! une histoire originale ! des histoires originales
une école normale des écoles normales

 

Adjectives with “-eau”

Adjectives ending in “-eau” become “-eaux”. You just add “-x “ to “eau”

Singular Plural
Cet home est beau Ces hommes sont beaux
un livre nouveau des livres nouveaux

If there are mixed masculine and feminine nouns, the plural masculine adjective is used:

  • Les filles et les garçons espagnols

Personal Pronoun Agreement

The French adjectives need to agree with the personal pronoun they describe:

“Je”, “tu”, “vous” and the polite “vous”:

  • Êtes-vous américain, Monsieur ? Non, Je suis canadien.
  • Êtes-vous allemands, Messieurs ? Non, on est italiens.
  • Vous êtes italienne, Madame ? Non, je suis française.
  • Êtes-vous italiennes, Mesdames ? Non, nous sommes françaises.
  • Elle est très belle, Marie !
  • Tu es très beau, Franck.

My Advice

The French adjectives may seem like a complicated thing. No wonder, they are ! But don’t be discouraged by their many rules and complexity. In real life you will use only a certain number of them, many of them regular (that is you will naturally apply the rules seen above as, for example, with the adjectives ending in “-al”) and bear in mind that even the French get confused with their adjectives, let alone someone who is learning the French language ! The best way to master this and any other structure is to repeat it in a number of meaningful exercises, like the ones that you have below. Don’t do them just once, do them several times over a few days until using the correct form becomes almost automatic for you. Good luck !

 

postcard-paris
postcard-paris

Exercises

Exercise 1: Check your knowledge and understanding of the lesson

 

Exercise 2: Practical use of the given grammatical structure (i.e. in real life situations)

French Adjectives 1

mont-st-michel

It’s really important to master well the French adjectives as they are a lot different from the English ones for example. The French adjectives reflect the gender and the number of the noun(s) they describe. The French adjective can be either masculine, feminine, singular or plural. It seems like a lot but it is not that hard. Besides there are some simple rules that apply and the truth is that even the French sometimes confuse the correct forms of their adjectives. Here are the rules:

Adding “-e” to the adjective

Gender: Masculine or Feminine. Masculin ou féminin in French. The general rule is to add an “-e ” to the masculine adjective.

Exemple:

Masculine Feminine
  • Julien est grand et intelligent.*
  • Ce film est joli.
  • Il est marié
  • Un véhicule rouge**
  • Joanna est grande et intelligente.
  • Cette histoire est jolie.
  • Elle est mariée
  • Une voiture rouge

* When the masculine adjectives end on “-t “, “-d “, “-s “, normally you don’t pronounce these letters. It changes however when you add the “-e ” in the feminine form.

** If the masculine adjective ends in “-e “, nothing changes.

Doubled consonant

Sometimes the last consonant is doubled in the feminine form of the adjective:

Masculine Feminine
  • Il est mignon
  • Un livre ancien
  • Un pont bas
  • Elle est mignonne
  • Une histoire ancienne
  • Une voitre basse

 

Adjectives ending in “-x “

The masculine adjectives ending in “-x “ become “-se “ in the feminine.

Masculine Feminine
  • courageux
  • curieux
  • sérieux

but !

  • rêveur
  • menteur
  • sportif
  • courageuse
  • curieuse
  • sérieuse

 

  • rêveuse
  • menteuse
  • sportive

Strange cases

Masculine Feminine
  • Un beau* livre
  • Un gentil* garçon
  • Un vieux* moulin
  • Un drapeau blanc
  • Une belle histoire
  • Une gentille fille
  • Une vieille maison
  • La maison blanche

The placement of the French adjectives

In general, the French adjectives come after the noun they describe, unlike the English adjectives.

There are exceptions* of course. Some of the examples autre, haut, petit, vieux, grand, faux, beau

  • De l’autre côté de la rue
  • Un très haut bâtiment
  • Une petite rue
  • Des faux amis
Eiffel Tower Painting
Eiffel Tower Painting

Exercises

Exercise 1:

 

Exercise 2: 

 

Exercise 3: 

In this exercise you need to chose which adjectives describe best the given painting. You need to chose between the positive and negative terms.

Speak in French About the Past with Passé Composé

Citroën 2CV, a legendary French car

In French there are four ways of expressing the past: le passé composé, l’imparfait, le plus-que-parfait et le passé simple. The first two you will use quite often, the third one from time to time, and the last one you won’t use at all. That’s the beauty of the French language.

Let’s start with the most famous and frequent French tense of the past:

1. Le passé composé:

How does it work ?

  • Le passé composé is formed with one of the 2 auxiliary verbs: “être (to be)” and “avoir (have)” in the present tense, plus the verb in the past participle form (le participe passé ).
  • Le passé composé is used to speak about the completed actions in the past (recent or ancient).

Eg.

  • J’ai déjà mangé. I have already eaten. (The English Present Perfect Tense is translated with Le passé composé in French)
  • Je suis allé au cinéma hier soir. I went to the cinema yesterday evening. 

2. Le passé composé with “avoir” or “être”

avoir être
J’ai rencontré un ami au restaurant. Je suis allé(e) au restaurant avec un ami.
Tu as rencontré ton mari dans un bar. Tu es allée avec ton mari dans un bar.
Il / elle / on a rencontré tes amis hier soir. Il / elle / on est allé prendre un verre avec amis.
Nous avons rencontré de gens formidables. Nous sommes allées dans des endroits formidables.
Vous avez rencontré mes parents. Vous êtes allés voir mes parents à la maison.
Ils / elles ont rencontré des amis de l’école. Ils / elles sont allés voir leurs amis de l’école.

 What you need to know is that most of the verbs go with avoir and others with être in passé composé. The best ways to memorize it is to do the exercises with être and avoir, see in which context they are used, and translate the sentences into your language.

Here are some of the most frequent verbs used with être:

  • aller, naître, venir, tomber, arriver, sortir, partir, rester, entrer, monter, descendre, revenir
Le passé composé of the verbs “être” and “avoir” is also formed with “avoir”

  • J’ai été malade. I was ill. 
  • J’ai eu de la fièvre. I had fever. 
An old bike
An old bike in Southern France

3. Expressions commonly used with Le passé composé

Not so long time ago (today / yesterday) Quite a long time ago A very long time ago
Il y a une heure an hour ago
ce matin this morning
il y a deux jours two days ago
la semaine dernière last week
le mois dernier last month
l’année dernière last year
il y a trois ans three years ago
ça fait longtemps It has been a long time
jadis long ago

4. Exercises

1. Drag and drop the verbs that go with “être” and “avoir” in passé composé.

2. Fill in the gaps:

 

French Conjugation of Etre and Avoir

It this lesson you will learn or consolidate, if you have gone through the 1st and 2nd part of my French Lessons for Beginners, the conjugation and use of the two most important verbs in the French language: Etre and Avoir.  

1. Etre / Avoir

Interesting facts and advantages of learning well from the start of etre (to be) and avoir (to have):

  • Two the most important verbs in almost any language
  • Because of that, you will be able to express all the basic things concerning yourself
  • Etre and avoir are essential in constructing the other tenses and structures in the French language (past, future, conditional, perfect)
  • Two irregular verbs, which means they conjugate differently from other verbs
  • In both verbs, the second ( tu ) and the third( il/elle ) person singular are pronounced in the same way (although they are written a bit differently)

 

2. Conjugation of Etre and Avoir:

Without a further ado here is the conjugation with the example sentences to make your learning the most effective:

être = to be avoir = to have
Je suis français. I am French.

 

Tu es allemand. You are German.

Il est jeune. He is young.

Elle est belle. She is pretty.

Nous sommes ensemble. We are together.

Vous êtes arrivés*. You have arrived.

Ils sont contents*. They are happy.

Elles sont contentes**. They are happy.

J’ai une voiture rapide. I have a fast car.

 

Tu as une jolie maison. You have a nice house.

Il a 10 ans. You are 10 years old.

Elle a un frère. She has one brother.

Nous avons terminé. We have finished.

Vous avez une question. You have a question.

Ils ont perdu. They have lost.

Elles ont peur.  They are afraid (lit. The have fear)

* you need to add "s" to a verb in the plural form. Just to let you know.

** If the verb is in plural and feminine form, you need to add 's' (plural) and 'e' (feminine)

3. Famous quotations or proverbs with etre and avoir

To make your lesson more memorable: famous quotations / proverbs with etre and avoir:

être avoir
1. Je pense donc je suis. (René Descartes)

 

2. Etre, ou ne pas être, c'est là la question.

(Hamlet)

3. “Non ! Je suis ton père !” (Darth Vador)

1. Avoir un chat dans la gorge.

 

To have a frog in one’s throat.
2. Avoir une faim de loup.

I could eat a horse.

4. Exercises

 

5. Homework: write a poem or a text of a song.

One of the very efficient ways of acquiring any foreign language (if not the most and in the end that’s the goal after all) is to make a creative use of the language.

Your task is to create a short poem or a text of a song (5 to 10 lines, but you are free to create as many as you wish). If you have a very small vocabulary, you may use only the French words from this lesson (look at the examples I used). You don’t need to be the next Flaubert or Molière in order to write poetry ! Very often, the best results are achieved with very simple things, so don’t be afraid to write poetry in French, even if you are only starting to learn it !

Post your poem in the comments. Let’s show so human creativity here !