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Get ready for beginners’ French
Get ready for beginners’ French

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7 Gender and adjectives: introducing agreeement

You now know that all nouns in French have a gender, either masculine or feminine, and that they must be used with the appropriate article, un/le (or l’) or une/la (or l’).

You also know that most adjectives, including adjectives for colours, are placed after what they describe in French sentences.

There’s another important grammar rule you must familiarise yourself with in your studies. Adjectives also have a masculine and a feminine form, and you need to use the appropriate form to match the gender of the noun they’re describing. In most cases, the feminine form is formed by adding an -e to the masculine. The grammatical term for this is ‘agreement’: adjectives need to agree with nouns.

Take a look at the following examples:

un vélo bleu (a blue bike)

une maison bleue (a blue house)

un chien noir (a black dog)

une table noire (a black table)

Now you can have a go at forming nouns and adjectives that agree.

Activity 7 Noun/adjective agreement

Translate the phrases below, using the correct form of the adjective for each noun. Then reveal the discussion to check your answers.

1. a blue sock (a sock = une chaussette)

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2. a blue book (a book = un livre)

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3. a black bike (a bike = un vélo)

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4. a black house (a house = une maison)

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Discussion

The correct answers are:

  1. une chaussette bleue
  2. un livre bleu
  3. un vélo noir
  4. une maison noire

Note that when an adjective ends in -e in the masculine form (for example rouge and jaune) then the feminine form is the same. You do not add another -e. Here’s an example:

un vélo rouge

une chaussette rouge

To wrap up your learning this week, see if you can produce your first complete sentence in French in this final activity.

Activity 8 Your first full sentence

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

Try and produce a translation for the full sentence ‘I eat a green apple’.

You will need to:

  • use the correct form of the verb manger
  • use the correct form of the adjective vert
  • use the noun for apple, une pomme
  • check the word order.

Take your time, and look back to earlier pages/weeks if you need to review any grammatical rules.

Have a go in the box below, and then reveal the discussion to check your answer.

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Discussion

The correct answer is:

Je mange une pomme verte.

How did you do? Check the following:

  • Did you use the correct form of the verb manger, i.e. je mange?
  • Did you use the correct form of the adjective vert, i.e. the feminine form verte? It needs to agree with the noun pomme which is feminine, as indicated by the use of the article une.
  • Did you check the word order, i.e., place the adjective after the noun it describes?