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(e) Adjectives ending in -ien, -el, -eil, -on, double their final consonant, and add e mute: as,

Un usage ancien. An old custom. Des usages anciens. Old customs.
La langue ancienne. The ancient Les langues anciennes. Ancient lan-


Thus-bon, bonne, good; Chrétien, Chrétienne, Christian;

cruel, cruelle, cruel; pareil, pareille, like; etc.


Observation. The following in -et, -ais, -ès, -ot, -os, -as, -il, -ul, also double their final stem-consonants, most of them in accordance with the General Philological Rule above, p. 17 :


un frère cadet,

un esprit coquet, un visage fluet, un oracle muet, un profit net,

un pays sujet,



une sœur cadette,

une humeur coquette,
une mine fluette,
une douleur muette,
une vue nette,
une ville sujette,

So also-brunet-te, doucet-te, demure;

un nuage épais,
un ordre exprès,
un religieux profès,
un plafond bas,
avoir les yeux las,
Used in fem.

la bœuf gras,

un sot discours,

neige épaisse,

une défense expresse,
une religieuse professe,
une stature basse,
la main lasse,
only-crasse ignorance,
de la viande grasse,
une sotte entreprise,

So also-bellot-te, pretty; vieillot-te,

un gentil enfant,

nul homme,

younger brother, younger sister.
coquettish mind, coquettish humour.
a delicate face, a delicate countenance.
a dumb oracle, a silent grief.
clear profit, a clear sight.

a subject country, a subject town.
douillet-te, molet-te, tender.
a thick cloud, deep snow.

an explicit order, explicit prohibition.
a professed monk, a professed nun.
a low platform, a low stature.
to have tired eyes, tired hands.
coarse ignorance.
fat ox, fat meat.

a foolish discourse, a foolish enterprise.

une gentille petite fille, a well-bred child, a gentle little girl.

nulle part,

no man, nowhere.

(f) FIVE Adjectives have two forms for the Masc. Sing.: one used before a Noun beginning with a consonant, the other before a vowel or silent h. The Fem. of these is formed from the latter by doubling the final consonant, and adding e mute, see (e): as,



Le beau verger.

The fine orchard.

Le bel arbre (pl. les beaux arbres). the fine tree (trees). f. La belle prairie.

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the fine meadow.

The new world.

the new coat (coats).

the new fashion (year).

The old beggar.

the old friend (friends).
the old hag.

The irresistible(lit.foolish)laughter.
a foolish hope.

a desperate undertaking.

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Obs. to (ƒ)-1. Notice as a remnant of Old Fr.:-Philippe le Bel; Charles le Bel; also the adverbial phrase :-bel et bien, fully and fairly, roundly.

2. Here may be classed—jumeau, jumelle [Lat. gemellus], twin.

3. Vieux homme, vieux_ivrogne, vieux_ami, etc., are, however, not at all unusual in familiar style.


There are four different classes of Adjectives and Nouns in -eur :—

(1) Those implying an idea of comparison, i.e. derived from Lat. comparatives, take e mute in the feminine: as,

Supérieur-e; antérieur-e; postérieur-e; extérieur-e; intérieur-e; meilleur-e, better; mineur-e.

Le rang inférieur.

The inferior

La région inférieure.

The inferior


(2) Those derived from a Present Participle by turning -ant into -eur,

-r into -se: as,


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flatt-ant; m. flatt-eur, f. flatt-euse; flattering.

parl-ant; parl-eur, parl-euse; talker, talkative, etc.



pêch-euse; fisherman.

Un femme trompeuse. A deceitful



Un homme trompeur. A deceitful

(3) Those ending in -teur not derived from a Present Participle (mostly from Latin Nouns in -tor, f. -trix) change -teur into -trice: as,

Direc-teur, director, direc-trice; lec-teur, reader, lec-trice.

Un génie créateur. A creative


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(4) In a few poetical and legal terms -eur is changed into -eresse : An avenging God. Divinité vengeresse. Avenging

Un Dieu vengeur.

For full lists of

Nouns which form their Feminine

(a) in -esse; (b) in -eresse; (c) -ice, -ante, etc.;


Names of Persons and Animals which radically differ in Masc. and Fem.;
Adjectives which form their Fem. irregularly, in alphabetical order, and
Compound Adjectives, see Appendix, §§ 95 and 96.

For Nouns of different gender in Sing. and Plur., see § 97 (a).
For Nouns of both genders according to Meaning, see § 97 (b).

21 IX. THE NOUN QUALIFIED BY AN ADJECTIVE IN THE POSITIVE, COMPARATIVE, AND SUPERLATIVE DEGREE. Comparisons may be divided into those of (a) superiority, (b) equality, and

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The following Adjectives form their degrees of comparison irregularly; the irregularities spring from the corresponding Latin forms :—


Ce vin est bon;

This wine is good;
Cette eau est bonne;
This water is good;

Ce vin est mauvais ;
This wine is bad;
Ce cheval est petit ;
This horse is small;

Ce service est petit;

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that is worse;

il est plus petit;

it is smaller;

the worst.

c'est le plus petit.

it is the smallest.

il est moindre que l'autre ; {c'est le moindre de

This service is slight; it is less than the other;

La distance est petite; elle est moindre que l'autre
The distance is short; it is shorter than the other;



it is the slightest

of all.

c'est la moindre.

it is the smallest.


Observations :-(1) Use of ne with the Verb after a Comparative :

Cela est plus facile que vous ne

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That is easier than you fancy; i.e. You

do not fancy it so easy as it really is.

I no longer think about it.

I have none (not any) left.

It does not rain now. See also §§ 59

and 85.

(3) Whilst plus must be used when there is a second term of comparison,

davantage can only be used when there La vertu est plus estimable que la


La science est estimable, la vertu
l'est davantage.

Je n'en sais pas davantage.

is no second term of comparison: as, Virtue is more estimable than knowledge.

Knowledge is estimable, but virtue is

more so.

I do not know more about it.

(4) Notice the difference between French and English in correlative compari

son :

Plus on est élevé en dignité, plus
on doit être modeste.

Plus vous lui en direz, moins il en

Moins on a de soucis, plus on est

The more exalted one is in rank, the
more modest one ought to be.
The more you talk to him, the less he
will do it.

The fewer cares one has, the
happier one is.

(5) Use of the Subjunctive in the Dependent Clause after a Superlative in the principal sentence (see § 163): as,

C'est le plus beau spectacle que It is the finest sight I ever saw.

j'aie jamais vu.

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(For a full treatment of this difficult question, see Syntax, § 123-4.)

Most French Adjectives are placed after the Noun; very few are invariably placed before; but a not inconsiderable number may be placed either before or after.

Place after the Noun :

(a) Adjectives derived from Proper Nouns: as,

Le peuple romain, the Roman people;

La religion chrétienne, the Christian religion.

(b) Adjectives derived from Participles, or Participles used adjectively: as, Un cœur compatissant, a compassionate heart;

Le pont suspendu, the suspension bridge.

(c) Adjectives denoting Physical or Accidental qualities, as—colour, shape,

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(e) Adjectives much longer than the Noun, especially those ending in— -ic, -if, -al, -eur; -able, -ible, -ique, -esque: as,

Le crieur public; le ballon captif;

La garde nationale ;

L'ordre supérieur;

Le conte incroyable;



L'humeur pacifique ;

The town crier; the captive balloon.

The national guard;

The higher class.

The incredible tale;

The pacific humour.

The following Adjectives, expressing the most elementary qualities, generally stand before the Noun :

Un bon enfant; un beau pays;
Le petit frère; le grand pont ;
Le jeune chien; le vieux cheval;
Un joli chat; un mauvais tour;
Un long voyage; un bref délai;

A good fellow; a fine country.
The little brother; the high bridge.
The young dog; the old horse.
A pretty cat; a bad turn (trick).
A long journey; a brief delay.

Most Adjectives, if used figuratively, may also stand before: compare— De l'encre noire. Black ink. De noirs pressentiments. Gloomy forebodings. For Adjectives with a different meaning before or after the Noun, see Synt., § 124.




N.B. This will serve at the same time as a repetition of the Plural of Nouns.

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