Neuf vs nouveau = New

Look at these examples:

Léo a reçu un vélo tout neuf pour son anniversaire.
Leo received a brand new bike for his birthday.

J'ai acheté un nouveau vélo.
I bought a new bike.

C'est une voiture d'occasion?
- Non, elle est neuve.

Is it a second-hand car?
- No, it's new.

Emilie a trouvé sa nouvelle table au marché aux puces.
Emilie found her new table at the flea market.


Notice that there is a nuance in French between neuf/neuve and nouveau/nouvelle.

While both mean 'new', neuf implies that it's never been used before, brand new (Note that it cannot apply to living things, e.g. pets), whereas nouveau just means 'new' in a more general sense.

In some context, obviously, both are correct.

However, the main difference of usage is the position in the sentence:
- neuf is placed AFTER the noun
- nouveau is placed BEFORE the noun

 

See also  Beau, nouveau, vieux, fou, mou have two masculine forms and one feminine form 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Léo a reçu un vélo tout neuf pour son anniversaire.
Leo received a brand new bike for his birthday.


Emilie a trouvé sa nouvelle table au marché aux puces.
Emilie found her new table at the flea market.


C'est une voiture d'occasion?
- Non, elle est neuve.

Is it a second-hand car?
- No, it's new.


J'ai acheté un nouveau vélo.
I bought a new bike.


Q&A Forum 7 questions, 12 answers

VanessaB2Kwiziq community member

Are there sentences where you can use both nouvelle and neuve?

In an example: Ma mère m'a acheté une robe ________. 

Can't you use either nouvelle or neuve?

Asked 2 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Vanessa, 

You could say for instance -

Ma nouvelle voiture est une voiture neuve = My new car is a brand new one

but I can't think of many examples when you would use both in the same sentence .

In the case of your example 

It has to be 'neuve' as it comes after the noun.

Hope this helps!

Are there sentences where you can use both nouvelle and neuve?

In an example: Ma mère m'a acheté une robe ________. 

Can't you use either nouvelle or neuve?

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AlvinA2Kwiziq community member

C'est vs Il/Ells - Not part of this lesson but a good example...I think.

The rule with c'est vs il/elle is that you are speaking of a specific item.  In this lesson one of the examples doesn't appear to follow that rule:

The lesson translates "Is it a second-hand car?- No, it's new." to "C'est une voiture d'occasion? - Non, elle est neuve." 

Why doesn't the question use Elle instead of C'est?   They are talking about a specific car--i.e. the one purchased by the speaker.

Asked 5 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Alvin,

I can see your confusion but in the question -

C'est une voiture d'occasion? 

it has to be c'est because in French you cannot say-

il/elle est + une

I know it is tricky for English speakers but that's just how it is ...

C'est vs Il/Ells - Not part of this lesson but a good example...I think.

The rule with c'est vs il/elle is that you are speaking of a specific item.  In this lesson one of the examples doesn't appear to follow that rule:

The lesson translates "Is it a second-hand car?- No, it's new." to "C'est une voiture d'occasion? - Non, elle est neuve." 

Why doesn't the question use Elle instead of C'est?   They are talking about a specific car--i.e. the one purchased by the speaker.

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AntoniaA1Kwiziq community member

J’ai acheté un nouveau vélo

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Antonia,

I suppose it is to just highlight the distinction between 'nouveau' and 'neuf'.

If you say:

J'ai un nouveau vélo.

It means you have a bike which is new to you but not necessarily brand new, i.e., it could be second-hand.

Hope this helps!

AntoniaA1Kwiziq community member
Why would yuou not use - j’ai acheté un velo neuf as the bike is brand new?
JohnA2Kwiziq community member

"J'ai acheté un nouveau vélo." This sentence doesn't align well with your other examples; that is to say, is it brand-new, or is it simply new to me? The implication is that I bought a 'new' second-hand bike. Is that what you are trying to convey? 

MichaelC1Kwiziq community member

I think the confusion stems from the fact that, in English, if I say "I bought a new bike", it would sound funny if this meant I bought a used bike which was merely new to me.  It's not impossible that the sentence would have this meaning, but without other context, I would say that someone was being misleading in using "new" in this way.  Hence, "J’ai acheté un vélo neuf" would be a more natural translation of the standard English meaning.  

(Edit: it seems that the question might be about the placement of the adjective as well, whether before the noun for nouveau or after for neuf.  But it's still odd to say in English "I bought a new bike" in general.)

J’ai acheté un nouveau vélo

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JohnC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

C'est une voiture d'occasion?- Non, elle ou c'est...

Shouldn't the second sentence in this example read, Non, c'est neuf or Non, c'est nouveau, with a masculine adjective?
Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

It is "la voiture", therefore "elle" and "neuve" both are in the feminine form since they refer to it.
You don't say "c'est.." because you refer to a specific vehicle, in which case you use "elle" instead of the impersonal "ce".

Here is the lesson on this: https://french.kwiziq.com/revision/grammar/when-to-use-cest-or-il-est-elle-est-to-say-it-is

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

C'est une voiture d'occasion?- Non, elle ou c'est...

Shouldn't the second sentence in this example read, Non, c'est neuf or Non, c'est nouveau, with a masculine adjective?

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DeborahA1Kwiziq community member

Why is the French word for "new" used so differently?

Asked 2 years ago
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonjour Deborah, A very good question indeed. This is a great example of how French differs from English and from the tone of your question, I understand where you are coming from. Masculine Feminine neuf neuve nouveau nouvelle nouvel While these are all in the singular, there are plural versions too and like most adjectives, they will agree in gender and number with the noun each modifies, i.e. a new student (m)---> un nouvel étudiant a new student (f) ---> une nouvelle étudiante a new boy (m) --> un nouveau garçon I hope this is helpful to you. Bonne chance.
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Neuf ou nouveau Ces deux adjectifs expriment, tous les deux, la nouveauté, mais la similitude s'arrête là. Ce qui est neuf est récent: la ville neuve naît sur un champ de berreraves qu'on a défriché, on s'achète une voiture neuve pour frimer, et quand on est vêtu de neuf, on se trouve beau. La jeune fille coquette , mais fauchée, peut même faire du neuf avec du vieux en recyclant ses vêtements vintage. L'opération faire peau neuve est valable pour un magasin dans le but de séduire ses clients, mais elle est plus difficile pour un individu. Ne croyez jamais celui qui vous dit: «Je suis un homme neuf». Le nouveau s'inscrit dans une lignée, il est à la place de, et il sera remplacé à son tour. Le beaujolais nouveau et les pommes de terre nouvelles ne resteront pas nouveaux longtemps, pas plus que le nouvelle tendance qui fait lacérer les jeans et trouer les pulls. Avec une majuscule, ce qui est Nouveau perd son caractère éphémère. Il devient référence, comme l'Art nouveau, ou le Nouveau Testament.

Why is the French word for "new" used so differently?

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AjitB1Kwiziq community member

Ma mère m'a acheté une robe ________. Why neuve and not neuf?

Asked 2 years ago
NicholasC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributorCorrect answer
neuve is feminin, adjectives agree with their noun, in this case une robe. If masculin it would be neuf, un miroir neuf for example.
AjitB1Kwiziq community member
Thanks for the explanation. It helped.

Ma mère m'a acheté une robe ________. Why neuve and not neuf?

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LilyB2Kwiziq community member

The lessons and kwizes contradict each other

The lesson translates "Is it a second-hand car?- No, it's new." to "C'est une voiture d'occasion? - Non, elle est neuve." However the kwizes say it should be "neuf". Which one is correct?
Asked 2 years ago
LilyB2Kwiziq community member
Oh I figured it out! the lesson uses "UNE voiture" and the kwiz uses "UN camion." That makes more sense now!
Lily asked:View original

The lessons and kwizes contradict each other

The lesson translates "Is it a second-hand car?- No, it's new." to "C'est une voiture d'occasion? - Non, elle est neuve." However the kwizes say it should be "neuf". Which one is correct?

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