An adjective is a word that describes a noun or pronoun. The major differences between adjectives in French and English concern agreementand placement. In French, an adjective is usually placed after the noun it modifies and must agree in gender and number with the noun. In English, anadjective usually comes before the noun it modifies and is invariable, that is, it does not agree. Tex est un tatou philosophique. Edouard est un escargotraffiné. Joe-Bob est un écureuil aimable. Bette est une chatte capricieuse. Corey est un cafard ivre. Fiona est travailleuse. (f) Mais Joe-Bob n'est pastravailleur. (m) Tex is a philosophical armadillo. Edouard is a refined snail. Joe-Bob is a friendly squirrel. Bette is a temperamental cat. Corey is anintoxicated cockroach. Fiona is hard-working. But Joe-Bob isn't hard-working.
adjective vs. adverb It is common in nonstandard English for speakers to useadjectives in place of adverbs. Joe-Bob says: "Gee, Tex writes real good." (instead of: "Tex writes well .") Joe-Bob says "Gosh, Edouard, you walk realslow." (instead of: "Edouard, you talk slowly.")
French adjectives are rarely used in place of the adverbial form. Remember that adjectives modify nounsand adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs! Tex écrit bien. (adverb modifies verb) La poésie de Tex est bonne. (adjective modifies noun) Texwrites well . Tex's poetry is good.
© 2004 • department of french & italian • liberal arts ITS • university of texas at austin
updated: 27 May 04