Compound colour names and colour names derived from things are invariable

There are two cases of colour adjectives that never agree nor change.

When the colour is described by a phrase containing two or more words (black and white, dark green, light blue...)

Il a des yeux bleus, des yeux bleu clair.
He has blue eyes, light blue eyes.

Tu as une jupe blanche?
- Oui, et une robe noir et blanc.

Do you have a white skirt?
- Yes, and a black and white dress.

C'était une voiture verte.  
- Oui, une voiture vert foncé.

It was a green car.  
- Yes, a dark green car.

Pour le 14 juillet, les gens portent des cocardes bleu blanc rouge.
For Bastille Day, people wear blue-white-red rosettes.

When the colour actually derives from a real thing like a fruit, material, animal (orange, chestnut)

J'ai une jupe orange et des boucles d'oreille orange.
I have an orange skirt and orange earrings.

J'ai les yeux marron.
I have brown [chestnut] eyes.

Je ne trouve plus mes chaussettes framboise !
I can't find my raspberry socks!

Elles portaient des robes ivoire.
They wore ivory dresses.

J'adore ses mocassins taupe.
I love his taupe ("mole" in French) moccasins.

 

See also regular colour adjectives: Colour descriptions change according to gender and number (adjectives) 

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Je ne trouve plus mes chaussettes framboise !
I can't find my raspberry socks!


Pour le 14 juillet, les gens portent des cocardes bleu blanc rouge.
For Bastille Day, people wear blue-white-red rosettes.


J'adore ses mocassins taupe.
I love his taupe ("mole" in French) moccasins.


J'ai les yeux marron.
I have brown [chestnut] eyes.


compound adjective


Il a des yeux bleus, des yeux bleu clair.
He has blue eyes, light blue eyes.


Tu as une jupe blanche?
- Oui, et une robe noir et blanc.

Do you have a white skirt?
- Yes, and a black and white dress.


C'était une voiture verte.  
- Oui, une voiture vert foncé.

It was a green car.  
- Yes, a dark green car.


noun


J'ai une jupe orange et des boucles d'oreille orange.
I have an orange skirt and orange earrings.


Elles portaient des robes ivoire.
They wore ivory dresses.


Q&A Forum 6 questions, 8 answers

HeatherB1Kwiziq community member

Une jupe orange

I believe there is an error in J'ai une jupe orange et des boucles d’oreille orange. It is translated I have an orange dress and orange earrings, but should be an orange skirt and orange earrings.

Asked 2 weeks ago
LauraKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Heather,

You're absolutely right, merci ! It's fixed.

Bonne continuation !

Une jupe orange

I believe there is an error in J'ai une jupe orange et des boucles d’oreille orange. It is translated I have an orange dress and orange earrings, but should be an orange skirt and orange earrings.

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PaulaA1Kwiziq community member

one of the test questions was "how would you say 'the monster revealed white, sharp canines'

Asked 5 months ago

one of the test questions was "how would you say 'the monster revealed white, sharp canines'

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DeAnnaC1Kwiziq community member

Would “rose” be an invariable color?

Would it be correct to say,  ”J’aime des roses rose!”
Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Hi DeAnna,

according to the lesson (Colour descriptions change according to gender and number (adjectives)) the correct way to say it is:

J'aime les roses roses. -- I love pink roses.

In general, colors derived from object names such as orange (an orange) or marron (le marron/the chestnut) stay immutable. However, the color rose (pink) does vary, even though it seems to derive from a real object, too.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Greetings, -- Chris (not a native speaker).

DeAnna asked:View original

Would “rose” be an invariable color?

Would it be correct to say,  ”J’aime des roses rose!”

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LukasC1Kwiziq community member

Les feuilles oranges?

In week 81 of the A2 writing challenge, there is a canonical translation "les feuilles rouges, jaunes et oranges". Why does "orange" have the -s suffix? I thought it was a color derived from a real thing and as such, it doesn't change.
Asked 2 years ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Lukas, 

I have been advised that it has been fixed .

Thanks for pointing it out...

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Yes, you are correct. Some color adjectives -- namely those who are directly taken from the names of fruits -- remain unchanged and don't accord to the noun which they describe. It seems to me that there is an error in the lesson. Would be nice if Amélie or Laura could chime in. -- Chris (not a native speaker).
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Just asked a native French speaker and she said that probably the vast majority would say "les feulles oranges" even though it is incorrect. -- Chris (not a native speaker).

Les feuilles oranges?

In week 81 of the A2 writing challenge, there is a canonical translation "les feuilles rouges, jaunes et oranges". Why does "orange" have the -s suffix? I thought it was a color derived from a real thing and as such, it doesn't change.

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TamaniA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Des yeux noisette--Correct

I thought I was following the rule: this phrase is not a compound adjective, nor does the color derive from a real thing.
Asked 2 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour Tamani, Des yeux noisette is correct because "noisette" is a real thing: it means hazelnut.
TamaniA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Bonjour Laura, Thank you! Yes, I googled 'noisette' and discovered it is a hazelnut. I wish I'd known that before taking the test!
Tamani asked:View original

Des yeux noisette--Correct

I thought I was following the rule: this phrase is not a compound adjective, nor does the color derive from a real thing.

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RobynB1Kwiziq community member

So a compound colour always reverts to the masculine form?

Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Robyn, Yes, because in French, the masculine singular form is considered as the "original" form which then changes according to rules of agreement. I know.... :)

So a compound colour always reverts to the masculine form?

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