TNs, U38: Adjectives 3(Determiners, Indefinite Adjectives, Comp. & Superlatives, Bon/Bien/Mauvais)

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You learned in "Basics 1" that almost all nouns must be preceded by an article. This isn't entirely accurate. Rather, almost all nouns must be preceded by a determiner, which is a word that puts a noun in context. As of this unit, you will have encountered every type of determiner.

  • Articles, as in le pantalon ("the pants").
  • Possessive adjectives, as in ton cochon ("your pig").
  • Demonstrative adjectives, as in cette personne (“this person”).
  • Cardinal numbers, as in deux chevaux ("two horses").
  • Interrogative adjectives, as in quel chat ? ("which cat?").
  • Exclamation adjectives, as in quelle chance ! ("what luck!").
  • Negative adjectives, as in aucune chance ("no chance!").
  • Indefinite adjectives, as in plusieurs jouets ("several toys").

There are very few exceptions to the rule that nouns must have a determiner. A few are verb-based. For instance: a few nouns expressing a status with être; names of languages with parler; and most nouns with devenir.

  • Il est bon élève. — He is a good student.
  • Elle est victime de son succès. — She is a victim of her own success.
  • Paul a été témoin à mon mariage. — Paul was a witness at my wedding.
  • Je parle anglais. — I speak English.
  • Il est devenu champion du monde. — He became a world champion.

Determiners are also omitted after some prepositions.

  • Je ne peux pas vivre sans eau. — I cannot live without water.
  • Nous le transportons par avion — We transport it by aircraft.
  • Je suis en vacances — I am on vacation.

Indefinite Adjectives

Indefinite adjectives like plusieurs, certains, quelques, and chaque reference nouns in a non-specific sense, akin to the way indefinite articles reference nouns.

  • L'enfant a plusieurs jouets. — The child has several toys.
  • Certains hommes sont mauvais.Some (or "certain") men are bad.
  • J'ai quelques livres. — I have a few (or "some") books.
  • L’automne est un deuxième printemps où chaque feuille est une fleur. (Albert Camus) — Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower.

Comparatives and Superlatives

In "Adverbs 1", you learned that you can use plus as a comparative and le/la/les plus as a superlative.

  • C'est une plus jolie robe. — That's a prettier dress.
  • C'est la plus jolie robe. — That's the prettiest dress.

Bon ("good"), bien ("well"), and mauvais ("bad") also have comparative and superlative forms, but they're irregular, just like their English counterparts.


To say "better" when referring to a noun, you can't just say plus bon. Instead, use meilleur, which is a BANGS adjective with four inflections.

masc fem
singular meilleur meilleure
plural meilleurs meilleures
  • Elle cherche un meilleur emploi. — She is looking for a better job.
  • Je veux de meilleures robes. — I want better dresses. (Remember that des becomes de when immediately followed by an adjective.)

For the superlative, just add a definite article before the adjective that agrees with it.

  • Paul est le meilleur. — Paul is the best.
  • Ses filles sont les meilleures. — Her daughters are the best.


When "better" modifies an action, state of being or an adjective, you must use mieux.

  • Il parle mieux japonais. — He speaks better Japanese.
  • Ça va mieux. — It is going better.
  • L’hôtel est mieux situé. — The hotel is better located.

Add a definite article to create a superlative.

  • C'est Paul qui cuisine le mieux. — It's Paul who cooks the best.
  • Il les connaît le mieux. — He knows them the best.
  • Voici l’hôtel le mieux situé. — Here is the best located hotel.


Unlike bon and bien, comparative and superlative forms of mauvais can either be regular (with plus) or irregular (with pire).

  • C'est une plus mauvaise situation. — That's a worse situation.
  • Ça peut être pire. — That might be worse.
  • Ce sont les pires choix. — Those are the worst choices.

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