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Bien vs bon?

Why is bon used in the first sentence and bien in the second? 1) Le café est moins bon qu'hier. 2) Ton devoir est moins bien qu'hier. These are both example sentences from my book so I assume these both are correct. Thank you for any help!

July 21, 2020



When you're talking about something edible : It tastes good = c'est bon

So if you're talking about food/drinks, bon

If you're talking about anything else, you will use bien but you can still use bon.

Example : Ton devoir est moins bon qu'hier, Le mien est moins bien

Anything edible : bon : Le café est bon, Le pain est bon, La soupe est bonne, C'est bon

Anything else : bon, bien : Le devoir est moins bon qu'hier, Le dessin est bien fait, Le résultat est bon, Le chien est bien dressé

Hope this helps you a little bit


Thank you, this was very helpful!


Hi, I have tried your theory with this Duo's sentence:

leurs analyses sont bonnes

Only bonnes works, bien is rejected. Is this just Duo's oversight or is there a reason to reject BIEN ?


Indeed ! I may have not thought of that, I think feminine words only go along with bonnes.

I tried with different feminine words and it kind of confirms what I just said :

  • Leurs initiatives sont bonnes

  • Les justifications sont bonnes

  • Leurs défenses sont bonnes

I think it is because it doesn't sound really "pretty" to say "bien" after a feminine word. But I just noticed something else, to say for example that the "pie is well made" (weird sentence I know but it still works) you will say La tarte est bien faite and not "La tarte est bonne faite". (see, the word and its place in the sentence depends on if you're talking whether about the pie itself or the way that it is made, bien would be about the way that it is made while bonne would be about the pie itself, ("La tarte est bien faite" = the pie is well made // "La tarte est bonne = the pie is good)

So here's what I think : feminine nouns that don't designate something edible go along with bonnes if bonnes is at the end of the sentence, because bien doesn't sound good with them. When bonnes is not at the end of it, it turns into bien !

One last thing, "Leurs analyses sont bien" is correct and we would understand very well what you're trying to say, it's just grammatically wrong and you wouldn't use it if you wrote an e-mail for instance, but you can use it orally

Thanks for your comment, it was really interesting to think about it and I hope that I've been clear enough and that my english doesn't sound too bad !


Thank you for your answer :)

La tarte est bien faite or Bien joue, Bien cuit etc -> yes, I know bien works as an adverb here.

So, for example, you would say:

la creme (cosmétique) est bonne (not bien)

as well as

la creme fraiche est aussi bonne.


Cosnel24 a tout dit.

Well : bien

Good : bon

But sometimes these both are correct.

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