1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "You are a bad boy."

"You are a bad boy."

Translation:Tu es un mauvais garçon.

January 17, 2013



The pulral form could be used to indicate respect. However, giving respect does not make a lot of sense when calling someone a bad boy.


Except if you expect the same respect in return. That is the case with the French police who are strongly recommended to use "vous" instead of "tu" with everyone they are in contact with, including bad boys.


'Tu es ' is singular so should go with 'un mauvais garcon' but 'vous etre' is plural. --please comment


"Vous êtes un mauvais garçon" is also acceptable. In French you can use "tu" and "vous" to mean "you". It is (for the most part) a question of politeness. Here is a more in depth explanation. http://french.about.com/od/grammar/ss/subjectpronouns_3.htm
This is also the case in other languages such as German ("du"/"Sie").

Hope that helps!


The plural form would be: "Vous êtes de mauvais garçons".


wouldn't it be "des mauvais garcons"? confusing :(


"des" becomes "de" in front of an adjective.


o fer cryin out loud :)


Vous can be used with an unfamiliar person.


Tu es un malin enfant. Too different?


"malin" rather means "smart", so the meaning is not right but if you mean smart, you have to move the adjective after the noun: "tu es un enfant malin".

If you are addressing a young child (0-10), you can say: "tu es un vilain garçon" (meaning "naughty") or "tu es un méchant garçon" (meaning "mean").


"Vous sont un mauvais garçon." is still correct, though in the formal form. It would be unusual, but possible.


Perhaps you meant to write vous ÊTES un mauvais garçon.


Non, pas du tout. with "vous" the verb is "êtes" ("sont" is for ils/elles)


Why can the adjective come either before or after the noun here?


yes, BANGS. but why would having it after the noun also be correct? 'garçon mauvais'


Subjective/ figurative adjectives go in front of the noun. Most of the adjectives captured by the B.A.G.S. convention are subjective/ figurative.

Objective/ literal adjectives go after the noun.

Some adjectives lend themselves to either usage therefore either placement.

Grand can mean tall. It can also mean great.

Un grand homme = a great man (subjective). Un homme grand = a tall man (objective)

Un mauvais homme when you are talking about his dancing skills. Un homme mauvais when you are talking about Hitler.


you can do it, it you want to give a higher emphasis to "mauvais"


I was wondering about that. You could move something from after the noun, which everybody would agree was objectively true, and place it in front making it subjective.

Does that indicate your intention to emphasize your personal agreement with the accepted objective classification? Conversely, if you move an adjective from normal subjective to objective position would that indicate that you think everybody would agree with your sentiment?


Actually some adjectives would never be moved from their regular place. The basic rule remains in 90% of cases.

That being said, some objective adjectives (like colors) can be moved in poetry: "une verte vallée" Does it give "verte" a subjective meaning? I am not sure.

I think it depends on the very meaning of the adjective, some may not have the ability to convey a subliminal message (ie: was Hitler un méchant homme or un homme méchant ?).

I have to think of it, I'll come back if I find anything of interest...



Thanks for your reply. I had wondered if altered placement let you subtly change the meaning of virtually any adjective or did variable placement apply to only those where the meaning was substantially different in each position as in grand. (great vs. tall) I'm aware that size comes after the noun when applied to people.

As with many issues that come to my mind, you cleared it up nicely.


I had a typo and it counted as wrong?


I used "t'es" instead of "tu es"... oops.


is this a correct translation "tu sont un mauvais garçon" ?


"sont" is the conjugation for 3rd person plural, whereas "tu" is 2nd person singular:

  • tu es

  • ils/elles sont

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.