French adjectives that come before the noun

Discussion in 'French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise' started by hamer1970, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. hamer1970 Senior Member

    Is there a word for the kinds of adjectives that are placed before the noun in French, such as grand, vieux, petit, nouveau, bon, mauvais, etc.?

  2. litchi Senior Member

    There are two kinds of adjectives:
    "épithètes" which are directly linked to a noun and that are just before or after it; and "attributs" which are linked to the noun through a verb (être, sembler, paraître, avoir l'air...).

    So, no, there is no specific name for the adjectives that are before the nouns, they are "épithètes" but just as the others.
  3. hamer1970 Senior Member

    Merci--je ne le savais pas non plus! :)
  4. P1ofTiffielle Senior Member

    Canada, English
    I have always called them "BAGS" adjectives because they describe beauty, age, goodness and size.
  5. PhilFrance93 Senior Member

    France, français

    Les épithètes avant le nom sont dits épithètes antéposés. Par exemple « Un bel arbre ».

    Les épithètes après le nom sont dits épithètes postposés. Par exemple « Un arbre magnifique ».

    Ces mots sont composés à partir de :
    ante (avant) / post (après) + posés (put)

    Hope it helps
  6. hamer1970 Senior Member

    Thanks--I'm trying to teach my students a way to remember them, so I will use that.
  7. xtrasystole

    xtrasystole Senior Member

    Yes, I agree with PhilFrance93. Those are 'antéposés'.
  8. hamer1970 Senior Member

    Merci-- je croyais qu'il doit être un nom pour ces choses! :)
  9. orlando09 Senior Member

    France, PACA
    English (England)
    there are also some of these where it comes before if it is a figurative meaning and after it is a literal one -

    un grand homme - a great man

    un homme grand - a big/tall man

    un cher ami - a dear friend

    une voiture chère - an expensive car

    un ancien facteur - a former postman

    un facteur ancien - an ancient postman etc
  10. xtrasystole

    xtrasystole Senior Member

    In French, there are about 60 adjectives whose meaning varies with position before the noun (usually the figurative sense) or after the noun (usually the literal sense). The most well-known, as orlando said, is 'grand'. Also: 'ancien', 'pauvre', 'propre', 'simple', 'vrai'...

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