Can you help me understand adjective agreements please?

Adjective Agreements

The following are simple points to remember in order to avoid losing marks in an exam for forgetting to make adjectives agree. It is important to be able to check and correct your own work and spot mistakes.

Agreements for gender

Adjectives are words which describe nouns and in French, adjectives must agree with the nouns. Therefore, you must show if they are masculine or feminine and singular or plural to match the noun.

First, you must know the gender of the noun and if you are in doubt, check! Do not assume that a noun which ends in –e is always feminine

Common mistakes – un groupe, un manque, un problème, un système

NB rules

Nouns ending in –ment are all masculine (exception of la jument, meaning mare.)

Nouns ending in –tion are feminine

The feminine singular form of an adjective is usually formed by adding an –e to the end of the masculine form i.e. petit (m); petite (f) or français (m); française (f)

To make the feminine plural form you simply add –es e.g. petites

For the masculine plural form you merely add –s e.g. petits

: adjectives which end in –s or –x do not change in the masculine plural form e.g. gris, des gens heureux

Important points to remember

Some adjectives double their final letter and also add an –e in the feminine form e.g. naturel (m); naturelle (f), européen (m); européenne (f), gros (m); grosse (f), net (m); nette (f)

Adjectives ending in –c form the feminine with –che, e.g. blanc (m); blanche (f)

NB – exceptions: public (m); publique (f), grec (m) ; grecque (f)

Adjectives ending in –er form the feminine with –ère e.g. premier (m); première (f)

Adjectives ending in –f form the feminine with –ve e.g. neuf (m); neuve (f)


masculine forms of adjectives that end in a silent –e do not change in the feminine i.e. la vie facile

Some adjectives are invariable, which means they do not change e.g. marron, orange, chic, cool, super

Adjectives and past participles which end in –é add an extra –e in the feminine form e.g. une porte fermée, les portes fermées

Adjectives ending in –al mostly form the masculine plural with –aux e.g. ideal (m); idéaux (m pl)

Adjectives ending in –eau form the masculine plural with –eaux e.g. beau (m); beaux (m pl)

Something that can often cause confusion

If you have several nouns of different genders with an adjective which describes all of them, always use the masculine plural e.g. La vue et le ciel étaient beaux.

Hope you find this helpful :)

Carolyn E. A Level French tutor, GCSE French tutor

1 year ago

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