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Reference Guide

French Grammar - Reference Guides

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Nouns are words that name people, places or things (.can
include objects, ideas, feelings or qualities); other words (for
example adjectives, verbs) can also be used as nouns
• Nouns are sometimes preceded by articles; an article is placed
before a noun to see if it can be preceded by the article
French Grammar
French Grammar
Common nouns designate whole classes of people or things
(for example une maison [a house], la fleur [the flower], un écrivain
[a writer])
Proper nouns refer to specific persons, places, or things
(for example La France [France], Les Français [the French people],
Monsieur Baudelaire [Mr. Baudelaire])
• Proper nouns are always capitalized; they may be used as
common nouns (for example du champagne [champagne], le judas
[the Judas])
• Some common nouns may be used as proper nouns
(for example La Gloire [Glory], La Fortune [Fortune])
Simple nouns consist of one word; composed nouns consist of
more than one word (for example une pomme de terre [a potato])
• Words that modify or qualify nouns; they take the number and
gender of the noun which they modify
• Determine noun while adding grammatical idea of possession
• Agree in number and gender with the word they describe,
and in person with the person who possesses
• Relate a clause to the
antecedent they
introduce; mainly
used in administrative
or legal language
and literary texts
Join the noun to add a vague idea about quality, resemblance or
• Do not express a quality
• Accompany the noun and add a certain determination
(for example: un homme [a man], le chien [the dog])
• Each noun has a grammatical gender (masculine or feminine);
true for all nouns, even those that refer to objects and concepts
• The ending of a noun (suffix) is sometimes a clue to its gender
• Each noun has a grammatical number (singular or plural)
• One way to form a plural is to add -s (not usually pronounced)
• In general, feminine
form adds a mute
eto the masculine
• Some words change
form (for example
un coq [rooster],
une poule [chicken])
• Others use the
same form (for
example un élève;
une élève [student])
• Some words have
neither feminine
nor plural forms
(un agent [agent
{no feminine}])
• Most plurals are formed by adding -s (un homme; des hommes
[man; men])
• Some cases have 2 different plural forms, depending on meaning
(le ciel [the sky], les cieux [skies, heaven], les ciels [sky, climate])
• Some nouns are used either only in the singular or plural (le fer
[iron], l’air [air],
les environs
[the surroundings])
• Some nouns change
meaning from
singular to plural
(le sort de l’humanité
[the fate of humanity],
les humanités
classiques [classical
Masculine Feminine
- (ami) e(amie)
er, ier (berger) ère (bergère)
en, on (chien) ne (chienne)
an, ain, in (faisan) e(faisane)
el, eau (colonel) le (colonelle)
c(Franc) que [-c] (Franque)
f(veuf) ve [-f] (veuve)
t(candidat) e(candidate)
et (cadet) te (cadette)
x(vaniteux) se [-x] (vaniteuse)
en, eur, teur (crieur) se [-r] (crieuse)
Singular Plural
s, x, z (une croix) - (des croix)
au, eu (un bateau) x(des bateaux)
al (un cheval) aux [-al] (des
ou (un sou) s(des sous)
ai, ail (un chandail) s(des chandails)
Sole Possessor Many Possessors
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Masc.Fem. Both Both Both
1st person mon ma mes notre nos
2nd person ton ta tes votre vos
3rd person son sa ses leur leurs
Masc/Fem (s) Masc/Fem (pl)
lequel/laquelle lesquels/lesquelles
duquel/de laquelle desquels/desquelles
auquel/à laquelle auxquels/auxquelles
aucun any
autre other
certain certain
chaque each
maint many
même same
nul none
plusieurs several
que what
quelque some
tout all
• Pose a question about identity, rank, or quality of the person or
thing designated by the noun
• Include quel, quelle, quels, and quelles
• Specify the noun
that will be
(or has been)
talked about
• Include ce, cet,
cette, and ces
• Indicate number, order, or rank of
things being talked about
• Two types are cardinal (for example,
un garçon [one boy]) and ordinal (for
example, le premier garçon [the first
boy]) numeral adjectives)
• Words that accompany nouns; give information about noun’s
gender and number (noun is defined or undefined)
Definite Same as the; indicates a specific object or name
Indefinite Same as a, an; indicates a non-specific object or name
Partitive Same as some;
indicates an
amount of
l’ and de l’ are
used if following
word begins with
a vowel
Singular Plural
Definite le la les
Indefinite un une des
Partitive du de la
1FRENCH GRAMMAR 1-55080-821-4 © 1999-2012 Mindsource Technologies Inc.
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