C'est un garçon bien.

Is this grammatically correct? Doesn't "bien" mean "well", rather than "good"? i.e an adverb rather than an adjective?

May 8, 2012


Yes you're correct, "bien" is usually an adverb, but it can also be used as an adjective do describe something/someone that is intrisically good. When describing people, it means that the person has good character.

However, "bon/ne" is always an adjective, but usually not used to describe the character of a person (of if so, has ahem a sexual connotation in everyday French. The placement of adjectives and its potential differences in meaning is discussed in another post).

This is just one of those times that you have to become familiar with how a word is used in practice, rather than looking at the word alone for translation purposes.

PS I neutralized your negative mark =)

May 9, 2012

In this case, "C'est un bon garçon" is an expression in French. I would translate it as " It is a good boy" or "He is a good boy". It's in the sense : He"s nice, polite and has a good behaviour. We never say "C'est un garçon bien".


But we use "C'est un homme bien" in the other hand. And certainly not "C'est un bon homme". It basically means that the man has a nice personality, it's good to be around him, and he won't be a source of disapointment. For example, it can be said by mothers to their daughters to approve a man that they think would suit her, or it can be used to vouch for someone.


Don't know if it helps.

May 9, 2012

C'est un bon garçon

May 8, 2012

Why did someone give my question a negative mark? Duolingo gives "C'est un garçon bien." as "It is a good boy." I wanted to check before giving feedback that this is incorrect. I am trying to improve the lessons, it would be nice if you could help out too, instead of marking down legitimate questions. Thanks.

May 9, 2012

Wow, this whole "bon/bien" thing is a minefield! I think I'd better stay away from using either to describe people until I have a better grasp of the nuances :S Thank you for the answers, and for voting my Q back up :)

May 10, 2012

CSI- generally bon/bonne is an adjective while bien is an adverb.

-Son français est bon; il le parle bien --His French is good; he speaks it well

The same is true for mauvais/mauvaise and mal -Leurs devoirs sont mauvais; ils écrivent mal --Their homework is bad; they write poorly/badly.

Hope that helps

June 25, 2012

Hi Csi, living in France since twelve years, heard "un garçon bien" / "un homme bien" a lot - it depends usually on the context but for me "bon garçon" and "garçon bien" are both correct. The comment of Ricainrico explains it well (as always ;) )

July 21, 2012

--- Garcon bien/tres bien is common used... Tres bien means (as you might know) very good. So there you have your answer...

July 24, 2012
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