# 1.15: Structure - Noms et Adjectifs

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## Objectif

In this section, you will learn about gender and number agreement with nouns and adjectives.

## Media Alternative

Listen to the audio clips that follow on this page to hear the French pronunciation of vocabulary and examples presented.

## On étudie !

### Le genre et le nombre

Gender & Number
Genre singulier pluriel
masculin

-s
-x (-eaux, -aux, -eux)

féminin -e -es

Most French nouns ending in -e are feminine.

To form the plural, add an -s to nouns, except for words ending in -(e)au that will take an -x.

### Les noms et les adjectifs

1. A noun (nom) is typically defined as a person, place, thing or concept. More importantly, it is defined by its relationship to other words around it. So, for example, any word that follows the word the, a(n) or some is a noun: the people, the mystery, the tree, the anguish, a car, an idea, some ideas, some books. A subject noun is when a noun is the subject of a verb. For example: "The dog" eats; "The phone" rings. (See verbs and subjects below).

(a) All French nouns are either masculine or feminine. These are grammatical genders, not biological or social ones. Thus, un chemisier (a woman's blouse) is masculine and une cravate (a tie) is feminine; la lune (the moon) is feminine, but le soleil (the sun) is masculine.

When a noun refers specifically to a human being, then the person's gender does come into play. For example: l'homme (the man) vs. la femme (the woman), l'ami (the male friend) vs. l'amie (the female friend); le chanteur (the male singer) vs. la chanteuse (the female singer).

(b) You can usually form a plural noun by adding an -s:

objet => objets table => tables

In cases where the noun ends in -eau, you add -x. For most endings in -al, you drop the -al and add - aux:

bureau => bureaux animal => animaux

Adjectives (adjectifs) modify how we understand nouns with which they are associated. Notice how our understanding of the noun maison (house) changes when we keep adding adjectives to it:

maison (house)

la maison (the house) = not a house, but the house

la grande maison (the big house) = not the small one, the big one

la grande maison bleue (the big, blue house) = the big and blue one, etc.

(a) In French, most adjectives agree in gender (masculine vs. feminine) and number (singular vs. plural) with the nouns they describe. This is called accord en genre et nombre (gender and number agreement). Notice the differences between the adjectives used in the following sentences (adjectives are underlined):

Marc est beau et intelligent. (Marc is handsome and intelligent.)

Fabienne est belle et intelligente. (Fabienne is beautiful and intelligent.)

Marc et Fabiennes sont beaux et intelligents. (Marc and Fabienne are beautiful and intelligent.)

Le livre est grand. (The book is big.)

La maison est grande. (The house is big.)

Les maisons sont grandes. (The houses are big.)

Most adjectives form the feminine by adding a silent -e (no accent) to the end of the masculine form. Adding a silent -s to the end of masculine and feminine forms gives you the plural forms of both. Here is the example of amusant (funny, amusing, entertaining):

Genre singulier pluriel
masculin amusant amusants
féminin amusante amusantes

There are always exceptions to this norm. For example: blanc => blanche (white); beau => beaux. You will learn these as you go.

(b) French adjectives are usually placed after the noun they modify. For example, un homme charmant, une femme élégante. Some adjectives are only placed before the noun, while others may go either before or after. But be careful! Sometimes a noun changed meaning depending on if it goes before or after the noun. For example, compare: un homme grand (a tall man) vs. un grand homme (a great man).

#### Ressources supplémentaires

Watch this video tutorial to learn how to identify masculine and feminine words.

Watch these video tutorials to learn how to form plural nouns an adjectives:

## On pratique !

### Activité A

Les singulier et les pluriels. Make the singular nouns plural and vice versa.

1. l'acteur ________
2. les choses ________
4. le café ________
5. les problèmes ________
6. les actrices ________
7. l'université ________
8. les animaux ________
9. les tableaux ________
10. les bibliothèques ________

### Activité B

Listen to the following words and choose whether they are singulier or pluriel:

1. a. singulier b. pluriel
2. a. singulier b. pluriel
3. a. singulier b. pluriel
4. a. singulier b. pluriel
5. a. singulier b. pluriel
6. a. singulier b. pluriel
7. a. singulier b. pluriel
8. a. singulier b. pluriel

### Activité C

What is the plural form of the following objects?

1. un bureau
2. un animal
3. un festival
4. un journal
5. un oiseau
6. un chapeau
7. un canal
8. un hôpital
9. un carnaval

### Activité D

Singulier ou pluriel ?

Listen and decide if the following sentences are singulier or pluriel. Listen again and write out the sentence.

Modèle : Il y a un tigre. You check: singulier √

1. pluriel __ singulier__
2. pluriel __ singulier__
3. pluriel __ singulier__
4. pluriel __ singulier__
5. pluriel __ singulier__
6. pluriel __ singulier__

### Activité E

Choisissez 5 mots que vous avez appris. Demandez à votre camarade de classe s’il, elle peut écrire le mot au pluriel.

## On approfondit !

### Ressources en ligne

Use the following resources to type accents and/or search for words:

• Accents: ç, à, é, è, â, ê, î, ô, û, ù, ë, ï, ü
• Dictionnaire français-anglais

### Exercice 5 : singulier vs pluriel

This page titled 1.15: Structure - Noms et Adjectifs is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by William J. Carrasco, Shahrzad Zahedi, & Caren Barnezet Parrish.