bien vs. bon

I thought that "bien" was an adverb meaning "well" and that "bon" was the corresponding adjective meaning "good". But then I came across this sentence in one of the lessons: "C'est un garçon bien"; Duolingo's translation was: "This is a good boy." Does that mean that "bien" can also be used as an (attributive) adjective and not only as an adverb? What is the difference between "bon" and "bien? Thank you.

August 18, 2012


No one in France I spoke to would say "C'est un garcon bien.". If you said that it would be more: "This is a boy, okay.". In conversation the 'bien' would act as an 'affirmation', closing your sentence. Like how as a Canadian I would say "It's a polar bear, eh.".

August 18, 2012

Hey, no dishing the Canadians, eh? :-)

April 20, 2013

Hello. In Spain, "un niño bien" (un garçon bien) can also mean a boy of good family, without money problems, maybe a bit posh...

December 4, 2013

Sorry ALion, you're not right. In its own right "un garçon bien" (une personne bien, un homme bien, une femme bien, une fille bien...) is different from "un garçon bon". "bien" here means that the person has moral values, someone you can trust, who behaves right. "bon" means that the person has heart values, someone generous. However, "un bon garçon" (adjective before the noun) is 'a good boy', which in English seems to bond "bien" and "bon".

August 20, 2012

Petit Robert (one of the major French-only dictionaries) agrees with Sitesurf over the meaning of "bien" as an adjective.

The adjective is invariable, so it doesn't change even in the plural, e.g. des gens bien.

May 7, 2013

Thanks. That makes sense :)

August 18, 2012
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