Adjectives in French grammar

What is an adjective?

Adjectives (les adjectifs) describe the qualities and characteristics of a noun; they describe how someone or something is. They always accompany the noun they describe, and the endings of an adjective always agree with the noun in terms of gender (masculine or feminine) and number (singular or plural).

le ciel bleuthe blue sky (masculine singular)
une fille courageusea brave girl (feminine singular)
des jardins bien entretenuswell-maintained gardens (masculine plural)
les villes françaisesthe French towns (feminine plural)

It’s important to know how to form the comparative and superlative forms of adjectives in French, as well as to learn where to place them in a sentence.

Types of French adjectives

In French, there are two types of adjectives: les adjectifs épithètes and les adjectifs attributs. Do you know the difference? Read on if not!

  • L’adjectif épithète is an adjective that refers directly to a noun and usually comes after the noun it describes (although sometimes they come before). These adjectives cannot be separated by another word.
    Il faut aérer les pièces humides.We have to air out the humid rooms.
    Regarde ce petit chat!Look at this little cat!
  • L’adjectif attribut also describes the qualities and characteristics of a noun, however it always appears together with a stative verb. The noun being described is the subject of the sentence and the adjective comes after the verb. The French stative verbs are: êtreto be, paraîtreto seem, semblerto seem, devenirto become, demeurerto reside, resterto remain, avoir l’airto seem, passer pourto pretend.
    Les élèves sont silencieux aujourd’hui.The students are quiet today.
    Ce fauteuil a l’air confortable.This chair seems comfy.

Learn more about adjectives in French grammar

It’s important to know the different endings that French adjectives have in the singular and plural, as well as their masculine and feminine forms. Master the placement of adjectives in sentences and expand your vocabulary using the comparative and superlative forms. Click on the links below to learn about these topics in detail, then put your knowledge to the test in the free exercises.