The 75 Most Common French Adjectives And How To Use Them

Understanding the 75 most common French adjectives is crucial for anyone looking to improve their French. These adjectives are essential in everyday conversations, adding the right details to describe the world vividly. French adjectives are vital to the language, helping to describe nouns more clearly. They usually go after the noun, but some rules change their position.

75 Most Commonly Used French Adjectives

French Adjective English Meaning
beau / belle beautiful
bon / bonne good
mauvais / mauvaise bad
grand / grande big
petit / petite small
vieux / vieille old
jeune young
nouveau / nouvelle new
gros / grosse fat
mince thin
large wide
étroit / étroite narrow
haut / haute high
bas / basse low
long / longue long
court / courte short
rapide fast
lent / lente slow
fort / forte strong
faible weak
clair / claire light (color)
foncé / foncée dark (color)
heureux / heureuse happy
triste sad
facile easy
difficile difficult
cher / chère expensive
bon marché cheap
propre clean
sale dirty
chaud / chaude hot
froid / froide cold
sec / sèche dry
humide humid
doux / douce soft, sweet
dur / dure hard
plein / pleine full
vide empty
simple simple
compliqué / compliquée complicated
intelligent / intelligente intelligent
stupide stupid
célèbre famous
inconnu / inconnue unknown
ancien / ancienne ancient, old
moderne modern
riche rich
pauvre poor
malade sick
en bonne santé healthy
fort / forte loud
silencieux / silencieuse quiet
frais / fraîche fresh
pourri / pourrie rotten
mouillé / mouillée wet
brillant / brillante shiny
terne dull
lourd / lourde heavy
léger / légère light (weight)
profond / profonde deep
superficiel / superficielle shallow
fin / fine thin (not thick)
joli / jolie pretty
laid / laide ugly
courageux / courageuse brave
lâche cowardly
aimable friendly
méchant / méchante mean
poli / polie polite
impoli / impolie impolite
sage wise
fou / folle crazy
gentil / gentille kind
cruel / cruelle cruel

How to Use French Adjectives Correctly

Placing adjectives in a sentence

Use French Adjectives Correctly

Getting adjectives right in French is vital to clear communication. Unlike in English, where adjectives usually go before the noun, in French, they often go after. But it’s not always that simple.

Some adjectives — those that describe beauty, age, goodness, size, or number — actually break this rule. Remember the acronym BANGS to keep them straight. For instance, ‘un homme grand’ means ‘a tall man,’ but switch it to ‘un grand homme,’ and you’re saying ‘a great man.’ Knowing these differences helps avoid mix-ups, whether speaking or writing in French.

Matching adjective endings with noun gender and number

When we discuss placing adjectives, it’s just as crucial to ensure they match the gender and number of the nouns they describe. In French, adjectives must agree with the nouns they modify in gender and number.

Here’s how it works: for a masculine singular noun, you typically use the adjective in its base form. To change an adjective to feminine, you often just add an ‘-e’ to the end. For plural nouns, you usually add an ‘-s’.

Handling exceptions to the rules

French adjectives usually follow basic rules, but there are some exceptions you need to watch out for. For example, adjectives that end in ‘-Eau’, like beau, switch to ‘-beaux’ when plural and masculine instead of just adding ‘-s’. Also, adjectives that end in ‘-al’, such as normal, turn into ‘-aux’ in the plural form, not just ‘-s’. Plus, there are adjectives that don’t change at all, no matter the gender or number of the noun, like marron (brown) and super (super).


To sum up, knowing the 75 most common French adjectives boosts your ability to communicate in French. When you know how to use them properly, including where to place them and how to match them with nouns, you can speak and write more clearly and effectively. This basic knowledge not only helps you talk and write better but also helps you understand and enjoy the French language more. This skill is crucial whether you’re just starting out or already good at French.

About the author
Ines Yaïci, born and raised in France, brings her native fluency in French to the Translation Blog as a part-time content writer. With a master's degree from the prestigious University of Paris I: Panthéon-Sorbonne, Ines combines her academic expertise with a keen interest in the stock markets. Her diverse background and passion for languages make her contributions to the blog both insightful and engaging.

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