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TNs, U20: Adjectives 2 (Multiple Adjectives, Grand or Gros, Faux-Amis)

Multiple Adjectives

When multiple adjectives modify a noun, they should come before or after the noun based on the same rules. This means that adjectives may straddle the noun if one is a BANGS adjective.

  • La grande robe rouge — The big red dress
  • Une jeune fille française — A young French girl

When arranging multiple adjectives on the same side, concrete adjectives should usually be placed closer to the noun than abstract ones.

  • J'ai un joli petit mouton gris. — I have a lovely little grey sheep.
  • J'ai un canard blanc courageux. — I have a brave white duck.

You can add conjunctions and adverbs to break up multiple adjectives.

  • J'ai un chapeau blanc et bleu. — I have a white and blue hat.
  • L'homme est fort et sérieux. — The man is strong and serious.
  • Elle a un très beau chapeau, chaud et violet. — She has a very beautiful, warm purple hat.
  • J'adore mon propre tout petit lapin blanc très doux. — I love my own very small, white and really soft rabbit.

When there are multiple nouns being described by one adjective, that adjective takes the masculine plural by default.

  • Un garçon et une fille italiens — An Italian boy and girl
  • J'ai une chemise et un manteau bleus. — I have a blue shirt and coat.

However, if the nouns are all feminine, then they take the feminine plural.

  • La robe et la jupe vertes — The green dress and skirt

Grand or Gros?

Grand and gros can both mean "big", but they're only partly interchangeable.

Grand tends to be used for:

  • General size: La grande robe — The big dress
  • Height: L'homme est grand. — The man is tall.
  • Area: La ville est grande. — The city is big.
  • Figurative size: La grande richesse — The great wealth
  • Importance: Un grand homme — A great man

Gros tends to be used for:

  • Thickness or volume: Une grosse boîte de petits-pois — A big can of peas
  • Fatness: Un gros chat — A fat cat
  • Things that are round: Une grosse pomme — A big apple
  • Seriousness: Un gros problème — A big (serious) problem

Faux Amis

Many English and French words look alike and share meanings. This is because English is heavily influenced by French and Latin. However, there are faux amis ("false friends") that look similar but do not have the same meaning. For instance, gros looks like "gross", but their meanings are not the same. Be careful before assuming the meaning of a French word based on its English lookalike.

Important: If you find any errors in the Tips and Notes, have questions related to the grammar points above, or would like to discuss the topic in depth, please feel free to comment below. We ask that you keep your comments on topic so that this post stays educational and everyone can benefit from them. Any spam or unrelated comments will be deleted.

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December 16, 2018


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