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French Phrases: Basic French adjectives

This page lists various basic French adjectives that should be among the first that you learn. To listen to the pronunciation of the French adjectives in each list, click the speaker icon at the bottom of the list. See also:

Basic French adjectives

The following adjectives are useful for describing physical qualities of people in French, plus some other basic qualities:

petitpətismall, short
grandgʁɑ̃large, tall
jeunejœnyoung
vieuxvjøold (masculine)
vieillevjɛjold (feminine)
âgéaʒeelderly
beaubohandsome; beautiful (with masculine noun)
bellebɛlbeautiful (with feminine person or noun)
fortfɔʁstrong
faiblefɛblweak (person, object)
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The following also relate to physical qualities, but relating more to physical qualities of objects. Adjectives to do with temperature are generally used to describe weather too:

froidfʁwacold
chaudʃohot
bien chaudbjæ̃ ʃowarm
longlõlong
courtkuʁshort
clairklɛʁclear, bright (light); thin (soup etc)
basbalow
hautohigh, tall
légerleʒelight (as in 'not heavy')
lourdluʁheavy
proprepʁɔpʁclean
salesaldirty
pleinplæ̃full
videvidempty
secsɛkdry
humideymiddamp, wet
fraisfʁɛfresh; chilly; wet (paint)
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The following are less physical qualities:

bonbõgood; right
mauvaismovebad; wrong
nouveaunuvonew
prochepʁɔʃnear
facilefasileasy
difficiledifisildifficult
durdyʁhard (as in 'difficult' or 'not soft')
pauvrepovʁpoor
richeʁiʃrich
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Basic adjectives to do with feelings, health, emotions

heureuxhœʁø, høʁøhappy
contentkõtɑ̃happy, satisfied
fatiguéfatigetired
tristetʁistsad, unhappy
sainsæ̃healthy
malademaladill
gentilʒɑ̃tikind, nice
sympathiquesæ̃patiknice, friendly
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As a general rule, add an -e (and pronounce the final consonant) when an adjective refers to a feminine noun.

Words that can be used with adjectives

The following words can be used to 'enhance' adjectives. Unless indicated, they can be used with either a masculine or feminine adjective:

il est...ilɛhe's..., it's...
elle est...ɛlɛshe's..., it's...
c'est...it's...
il fait...il fɛit's... (talking about weather)
plus...plymore..., ...er
moins...mwæ̃less...
très...tʁe, tʁɛvery...
tout...tuall..., completely... (masculine)
toute...tutall..., completely... (feminine)
complètement...cõplɛtmɑ̃completely...
bien...bjæ̃quite..., rather..., pretty...
assez...asequite..., rather...; sufficiently...
peu...hardly..., not...
pas...panot...
si...siso...
tellement...tɛlmɑ̃so...
nettement...nɛtmɑ̃noticeably...
gravement...gʁavmɑ̃seriously...
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Page written by Neil Coffey. Copyright (c) Javamex UK 2014. All rights reserved.