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Colour descriptions change according to gender and number (adjectives)

French adjectives of simple colours agree in gender and number with the noun they modify.

Here is the full agreement table:

Masculine Singular Feminine Singular Masculine Plural Feminine Plural English
rouge rouge rouges rouges red
jaune jaune jaunes jaunes yellow
rose rose roses roses pink
bleu bleue bleus bleues blue
vert verte verts vertes green
gris grise gris grises grey
noir noire noirs noires black
violet violette violets violettes purple
blanc blanche blancs blanches white
brun brune bruns brunes dark brown
orange orange
orange
orange
orange
marron
marron
 marron
marron
brown

Note that colours ending in mute -e, such as jaune (yellow)rose (pink)rouge (red) and orange remain the same in the feminine.


ATTENTION: 

J'ai deux chiens marron et une souris marron.
I've got two brown dogs and one brown mouse.

Elle a un sac orange et deux écharpes orange.
She has an orange bag and two orange scarves.

Colours marron (brown/chestnut) and orange (orange) never change in any form, plural and/or feminine.

  

Case of brun

Daniel a les yeux marron et les cheveux bruns.
Daniel has brown eyes and brown hair.

The colour brun is defined as a dark red going on black (Dictionnaire de l'Académie française).
In colloquial French, brun will mostly be used to describe hair, skin (as in tanned skin), or fur.
In other cases, we will use marron

Here are examples to listen to:

J'ai un stylo bleu et une chemise bleue.
I've got a blue pen and a blue shirt.

Avec deux crayons violets elle dessine une robe violette.
With two purple pencils she draws a purple dress.

Sur un arbre vert grimpe une souris verte.
On a green tree climbs a green mouse.

Je dessine un nuage rose et une panthère rose.
I'm drawing a pink cloud and a pink panther.

Je vois un soleil jaune et une fleur jaune.
I see a yellow sun and a yellow flower.

Avec un drap blanc je fais deux jupes blanches.
With a white sheet I make two white skirts.

Elle porte un chapeau rouge et deux boucles d'oreille rouges.
She's wearing a red hat and two red earrings.

Il y a un chat noir sur une chaise noire.
There is a black cat on a black chair.

Il y a un rat gris et une souris grise.
There is a grey rat and a grey mouse.

See also Adjectives usually go AFTER nouns (adjective position)

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Il y a un chat noir sur une chaise noire.
There is a black cat on a black chair.


Daniel a les yeux marron et les cheveux bruns.
Daniel has brown eyes and brown hair.


Il y a un rat gris et une souris grise.
There is a grey rat and a grey mouse.


Elle a un sac orange et deux écharpes orange.
She has an orange bag and two orange scarves.



Avec deux crayons violets elle dessine une robe violette.
With two purple pencils she draws a purple dress.


Sur un arbre vert grimpe une souris verte.
On a green tree climbs a green mouse.


Je dessine un nuage rose et une panthère rose.
I'm drawing a pink cloud and a pink panther.


Je vois un soleil jaune et une fleur jaune.
I see a yellow sun and a yellow flower.


J'ai deux chiens marron et une souris marron.
I've got two brown dogs and one brown mouse.


Elle porte un chapeau rouge et deux boucles d'oreille rouges.
She's wearing a red hat and two red earrings.


J'ai un stylo bleu et une chemise bleue.
I've got a blue pen and a blue shirt.


Avec un drap blanc je fais deux jupes blanches.
With a white sheet I make two white skirts.


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Q&A

Jiali

Kwiziq community member

8 February 2018

1 reply

For colours such as 'bleu-vert', how would you agree them?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

9 February 2018

9/02/18

Hi Jiali,


if you use a color composed of two adjectives (such as in the example you give, or, e.g., bleu-clair, brun-foncé, etc.) neither of them changes. So you get off free!


Des chaussures bleu-vert. -- Blue-green shoes (no arguing about taste, please;).



-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Peter

Kwiziq community member

2 February 2018

1 reply

marron has no feminine form nor plural form ?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

2 February 2018

2/02/18

Hi Peter,

Correct observation, "marron" is immutable. Those colors which effectively are the name of other objects don't change. "Orange" is another example. There is a dedicated lesson for this.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Adam

Kwiziq community member

24 January 2018

1 reply

One tiny English typo: "I've got two brown dogs and one brown mice" should be "...one brown mouse".

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

25 January 2018

25/01/18

Bonjour Adam !

Oops! Merci beaucoup !
J'ai maintenant corrigé cet exemple :)

Bonne journée !

Stuart

Kwiziq community member

25 December 2017

4 replies

Suzanne adore les vêtements oranges.

There is a question about this and my response (above) was incorrect. Is les vêtements an exception to adding the ‘s’ at the end to orange? I couldn’t see the exception in the discussion. Thanks.

Ron

Kwiziq community member

25 December 2017

25/12/17

Bonjour Stuart,


Here is an example from the lesson:


Elle a un sac orange et deux écharpes orange. --> She has an orange bag and two orange scarves.
As can be noticed in the example from the lesson Aurélie has given us, in plural phrases «orange» does NOT change form to agree in quantity, i.e. un sac orange and deux écharpes orange.


If one returns to the lesson and reviews the chart, the color «marron» is another case in point where the spelling does NOT change to agree in quantity. 

Chris

Kwiziq community member

25 December 2017

25/12/17

There are a number of exceptions to agreeing colors with the noun they refer to.
The most notable one is that colors with the names of real objects (as, e.g., orange, marron etc.) remain unchanged.


Therefore the exception lies not with vêtements but with orange. -- Chris.

Stuart

Kwiziq community member

25 December 2017

25/12/17

Sorry - the exception is the colour orange, not ‘les vêtements’.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

29 December 2017

29/12/17

Bonjour Stuart !


Colours orange and marron are indeed specific cases, which are explained in more detail in the following lesson: 


https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/compound-colour-names-and-colour-names-derived-from-things-are-invariable


However, I do agree that this particularity needed to be highlighted more clearly in the lesson, and thanks to your feedback, I've now updated the lesson to make it clearer :)


Bonne journée !

Loren

Kwiziq community member

11 November 2017

7 replies

Why isn't the complete table of adjective endings visible? The Fem plural is cut off?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

13 November 2017

13/11/17

Bonsoir Loren,
The complete table is visible on my PC. Perhaps one of the IT team members for Kwiziq can weigh-in on this.
Bonne chance.

Loren

Kwiziq community member

13 November 2017

13/11/17

Merci, Ron.
Yes. I hope they will. Doesn't make much sense to have that table there unless it can be seen.
Amicalement,
Loren

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

13 November 2017

13/11/17

Bonjour Loren,

Could you please email us a screenshot and info about your device / browser? info@kwiziq.com

Gio

Kwiziq community member

1 January 2018

1/01/18

I am having the same problem. Also, I am using a laptop. I can send you a screen shot as well if need be

Laura

Kwiziq language super star

1 January 2018

1/01/18

Bonjour Gio - Yes please, that would be very helpful.

Gio

Kwiziq community member

2 January 2018

2/01/18

Hi. I sent an email. Hopefully it helps.

Anetta

Kwiziq community member

22 January 2018

22/01/18

Same issue over here.

Jennifer

Kwiziq community member

22 November 2016

1 reply

When do you use brun and when marron?

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

22 November 2016

22/11/16

Bonjour Jennifer !

Thanks for that question: I've now added an explanatory section on this aspect in the core lesson.
Please have a look, and let me know if that's helpful!

Merci et à bientôt !

Radhika

Kwiziq community member

27 June 2016

1 reply

Can you explain how the same adjective is used in the before and also after the noun

for example: Elle a les cheveux longs et blonds becomes Elle a de long cheveux blonds.

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

28 June 2016

28/06/16

Bonjour Radhika !


That's a good question!
It depends which rule you follow regarding adjectives:


- if you consider the adjectives one by one (longs/blonds), therefore you respect their established position: long is always before the noun, and blond after, hence Elle a de longs cheveux blonds.


- if you link these two adjectives with et (and), therefore the rule is to place them after the noun, hence Elle a les cheveux longs et blonds.


In French you can do either, as long as you stay coherent with the rules.


I hope that's helpful!

Thinking...