Adjective Gender Rules

masculine and feminine endings for French adjectives

An adjective is a word used to describe a noun. In French all adjectives must agree in gender and number with the noun they describe. The rules for adjectives in French are not easy. It’s not as simply as simply adding an -e. That said, there are many patterns and we’ll discover the patterns on this page.

regular adjectives – add an -e to make feminine

Often times a feminine adjective is created simply by adding an -e to the masculine adjective

  • américain -> américaine American
  • français -> française French
  • grand -> grande tall
  • petit -> petite short
  • intelligent -> intelligente
  • compliqué -> compliquée complicated

adjectives ending in -e in the masculine form

When an adjective ends in -e in the masculine form it remains the same in the feminine form.

  • sympathique -> sympathique nice
  • timide -> timide shy
  • complexe -> complexe complex
  • rouge -> rouge red
  • aimable -> aimable friendly
  • drôle -> drôle funny
  • formidable -> formidable great
  • facile -> facile easy
  • stupide -> stupide stupid

irregular adjectives

There are lots of adjectives where the masculine and feminine endings are different, meaning you don’t just add an -e. There are groups of adjectives with similar endings.

Masculine adjectives ending in -eux ending -euse in the feminine form.

  • heureux -> heureuse happy
  • serieux -> serieuse -> serious
  • furieux -> furieuse -> furious
  • curieux -> curieuse -> curious
  • courageux -> courageuse brave
  • ennuyeux ennuyeuse -> boring
  • merveilleux -> marveilleuse marvelous

-f/-ive adjectives

Masculine adjectives ending in -f end in -ive in the feminine form. A lot of these adjectives are the same in English and French.

  • actif -> active active
  • sportif -> sportive athletic
  • passif -> passive passive
  • vif -> vive lively
  • créatif -> créative creative
  • bref -> brève brief

more irregular endings

Adjectives ending in -on, -en and -el double the final consonant before adding an -e.

  • bon -> bonne good
  • mignon -> mignonne cute
  • exceptionnel -> exceptionnelle exceptional
  • canadien -> canadienne Canadian
  • italien -> italienne Italian
  • naturel -> naturelle natural
  • professionnel -> professionnelle professional

-et / -ète adjectives

Masculine adjectives ending in -et end in -ète in the feminine.

  • muet -> muète silent, quiet
  • discret -> discrète discrete
  • inquiet -> inquiète worried
  • secret -> secrète secret
  • concret -> concrète concrete

Several adjectives that end in -il and -ul double the -l and before adding the -e in the feminine.

  • nul -> nulle lousy
  • gentil -> gentille nice
  • pareil -> pareille same, similar

Some adjectives that end in -ot or -et double the -t before adding an -e in the feminine.

  • sot -> sotte foolish
  • muet -> muette -> mute

Lots of masculine adjectives ending in -er end in -ère in the feminine.

  • leger -> legère light
  • cher -> chère expensive
  • dernier -> dernière last
  • étranger -> étrangère foreign
  • fier -> fière proud

Masculine adjectives than end in -s end in -sse in the feminine.

  • gros -> grosse fat
  • bas -> basse low
  • gras -> grasse fatty

highly irregular adjectives

Some adjectives are completely different in the masculine and feminine forms. These are often referred to as irregular adjectives.

  • beau -> belle beautiful
  • blanc -> blanche white
  • bref -> brève brief
  • doux -> douce soft
  • faux -> fausse false
  • fou -> folle crazy
  • frais -> fraîche fresh
  • grec -> grecque Greek
  • long -> longue long
  • mou -> molle soft
  • nouveau -> nouvelle new
  • public -> publique public
  • roux -> rousse redheaded
  • sec -> sèche wet
  • vieux -> vielle old

French adjectives Rules: Masculine – Feminine

Video source: Learn French with Pascal

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