"You are a nice boy."

Translation:Tu es un gentil garçon.

January 21, 2013

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Why "un gentil garcon" and not "un garcon gentil"? Can someone explain the subtleties of ordering adjectives and nouns in a sentence?

  • 2043

In French, most adjectives are placed after the noun.

Certain adjectives are placed before the noun, some which you can memorize with the acronym "BANGS":

Beauty - Age - Numbers - Good and bad - Size (except for grand with people)

These descriptors - and a few others - are considered inherent qualities of the noun: For example "un gentil garçon" for "a nice boy"

Please also have a look at the following link: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/adjectives_4.htm


However, my answer of "un garçon sympa" was accepted, what is the difference between "Garçon sympa" and "gentil garçon"?

  • 2043

"sympa" is an exception.

You must say "Un garçon sympa" (not: "un sympa garçon")


So normally the adjective comes after the noun. BANGS is the exception. "Sympa" is the exception to the exception. Got it!


Would you say "vous" to a boy?

  • 2043

"Un garçon" is not only for "young" boys. You can also say call a young man "un garçon", hence, you can say "tu" (informal) or "vows" (formal), depending on how familiar you are with this person.


I see, thank you for your response.


Bear in mind also the possibility that if the person speaking was younger, or in a position of dereference to the 'young boy', they would indeed use vous.


Is "Tu est un garcon gentil" wrong.

  • 2043

Yes, because it has to be "tu es". Please have a look at my comment above.

[deactivated user]

    my answer "tu es un garçon gentil" was marked correct. i'm not sure if it's a bug.

    • 2043

    It's not a bug: "gentil" is among the adjectives that are usually placed before the noun, but that also can be placed after the noun.


    Why do you need the article un''? I thought with être, it is omitted, as inJe suis professeur'' not ``Je suis un professeur.''

    • 2043

    You have to put an article before most nouns.

    The article is only omitted before occupation nouns (e.g. "professeur" -> "Je suis professeur"), or before adjectives (e.g. "débutant" -> "Je suis débutant").


    Okay, so I understand why it would be un gentil garcon instead of un garcon gentil using BANGS (I'm assuming gentil falls under "good?") But if that is so, why is "Tu es un garcon sympa" accepted? Is sympa not the same type of describing word as gentil, or is this just an exception to the rule?

    • 2043

    "sympa" is an adjective that comes from "sympathique".

    "Sympathique" has 4 syllables when it is written (sym-pa-thi-que), even though when you say it, it sounds like it has 3 syllables (sym-pa-thique).

    In French, the adjectives that have more than 3 syllables are placed after the noun.

    Since "sympa" comes from "sympathique", it is placed after the noun.


    Holy cow, that is a difficult convention. Thank you.


    Remy, that is really helpful to know. Thanks!

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