Archive | March 2018

Position of Adjectives (Part 1)

In English, adjectives that qualify a noun are always placed before it (i.e.: a blue car; small child; etc.,), in French the general rule is that adjectives follow the noun they qualify. However, there are some notable exceptions: certain adjectives always precede the noun, and in some contexts the position of other adjectives may be open to the speaker’s discretion.

Adjectives which follow the noun

Adjectives used in a literal or concrete sense normally follow the noun. This applies especially to the literal use of adjectives of color and nationality, to present and past participles used adjectivally, and to adjectives derived from proper names (i.e.: artistic or political groups):

  • Le représentant américain portait un chapeau marron. | The American representative wore a brown hat.
  • J’ai remarqué un visage souriant parmi la foule des députés socialistes. | I saw a smiling face among the crowd of socialist M.P.s.

If adjectives are qualified by an adverb, they normally follow the noun:

  • C’est un film extrêmement intéressant. | It’s an extremely interesting film.

However, adjectives which normally precede the noun may still do so if qualified by an adverb such as bien, plus, moins, si, or by assez or aussi:

  • C’est une si jolie maison. | It’s such a pretty house.

The adjective almost always follows the noun if it is qualified by à + infinitive or trop…pour + infinitive:

  • Voici un problème difficile à résoudre. | Here is a problem which is difficult to solve.
  • C’est une voiture trop vieille pour faire de longs voyages. | It’s a car which is too old to do long journeys.

Adjectives which precede the noun

Possessive and demonstrative adjectives always precede the noun they qualify:

  • ce livre bleu | this blue book
  • mon frère aîné | my elder brother

The indefinite adjectives autre, certain, chaque, plusieurs, quelque, tel, and tout precede the noun they qualify:

  • Un autre homme m’a raconté toute l’histoire. | Another man told me the whole story.

Numerals and cardinal numbers also precede the noun:

  • Les deux frères Leroux étaient les premiers propriétaires de ce restaurant. | The two Leroux brothers were the first owners of this restaurant.

A number of common, short adjectives regularly precede the noun they qualify: beau, bon, bref, grand, gros, haut, jeune, joli, mauvais, meilleur, moindre, petit, sot, vaste, vieux, vilain:

  • Elle veut une jolie petite maison située dans un beau village. | She wants a pretty little house in an attractive town.

Adjectives of color may precede the noun they qualify if used metaphorically:

  • une noire journée | a black day (i.e.: unfortunate)

Next week will be the second part to this post, so stay tuned! Have a great week, everyone!

A la prochaine…

Courtney

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Cognates

Many word in English and French are exactly the same in both languages. Many others have only minor changes in spelling and are easily recognised. The following will help increase your vocabulary.

Adjectives 

The suffixes -able, -ible, -al, -ant, -ent are usually the same in both languages.

admirable

horrible

commercial

confortable

possible

municipal

considérable

terrible

royal

brilliant

évident

ignorant

excellent

important

innocent

French suffixes and their usual English equivalents: -eux (-euse) = -ous; -eur = -or; -el = -al; -ique = -ic.

dangereux/euse

extérieur

habituel

fanatique

fameux/euse

intérieur

mortel

fantastique

furieux/euse

supérieur

naturel

stratégique

Nouns

The following suffixes are generally the same in French and English: -ion, -tion, -age, -ice, -ent, -ence.

attention

distraction

courage

fonction

million

passage

opinion

question

village

caprice

accident

différence

justice

instrument

patience

service

moment

silence

French suffixes and their usual English equivalents: -eur = -or, -er; -té = -ty; -ie = -y; -ique = -ic; -re = -er.

inspecteur

curiosité

compagnie

porteur

difficulté

énergie

visiteur

qualité

industrie

logique

lettre

musique

membre

république

théȃtre

Verbs

The great majority of all French verbs belong in the 1st conjugation (-er). Notice how we may derive the meaning of many of these verbs by observing the following changes in the ending:

  • The -er ending drops in English.

aider

consulter

insister

passer

profiter

  • The French -er becomes -e.

arriver

décider

désirer

préparer

refuser

  • The French -er becomes -ate.

communiquer

hésiter

indiquer

séparer


Thank you everyone for being so understanding that I needed to take the last couple of weeks off from the blog. I’m still recovering, but I’m well enough to return here.

Have an amazing week, everyone!

Merci à vous !

Courtney

Announcement

Hello Friends,

I am sorry to have to announce that I need to take a 1 to 2 week break from the blog. I have had some scary health issues that have halted me, and I need to take some time to get well again. I hope you will understand, but I will be back.

Merci beaucoup,

Courtney

Idiomatic Verbs – Etre

The verb être (to be) can also be used idiomatically in the following important idiomatic expressions:

être de retour (to be back)

  • Je serai de retour à neuf heures.
  • I shall be back at 9 o’clock.

être en retard (to be late)

  • J’espère que le train ne sera pas en retard.
  • I hope the train won’t be late.

être sur le point de (to be about to)

  • Nous étions sur le point de sortir.
  • We were about to leave.

être en train de (to be in the middle of)

  • Nous sommes en train de le décider.
  • We are (in the middle of) deciding it.

être enrhumé (to have a cold)

  • Maman est enrhumée et ne pourra pas nous accompagner.
  • Mom has a cold and will not be able to accompany us.

Note as well:

  • Ce n’est pas la peine.
  • It is not worth the effort.

Have a fantastic week, everyone!

Merci à vous !

Courtney