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Meilleur, mieux, pire / plus mauvais, plus mal = better, best, worse and worst (irregular comparatives and superlatives)

Knowing when to use mieux and meilleur (better) can be tricky in French because we only have one form in English. It can seem even more complex to say the best, but here's what you need to remember in a nutshell:

- Meilleur/meilleure is the comparative form of the adjective bon/bonne
- Mieux is the comparative form of the adverb bien.

Therefore, whenever you would use bon/bonne (good), you'll use meilleur/e, and whenever you would use bien, you'll use mieux!

When to use bon/bonne (adjective) and therefore meilleur

In French, you'll use the adjective bon and its comparative meilleur when:

- qualifying something as good/better/the best for a usage, or good/better/the best in taste (food):  

Tu préfères le chocolat ou la vanille ? - La vanille, c'est bon, mais le chocolat, c'est meilleur !
Do you prefer chocolate or vanilla? - Vanilla is good, but chocolate is better!

Ces bonbons sont meilleurs que les tiens: ce sont les meilleurs du monde.
These sweets are better than yours: they are the best in the world.

Quel est le meilleur aspirateur?
Which is the best vacuum cleaner?

C'est la meilleure idée que tu aies jamais eue!
It's the best idea you've ever had!


- qualifying someone as a good/better/the best person or good/better/the best at something:

Ces deux-là sont les meilleures amies du monde !
These two are the best friends in the world!

Je suis bon en maths, mais il est meilleur en maths que moi.
I'm good at maths, but he is better at maths than me.

Je suis le meilleur de ma classe.
I'm the best in my class.

These forms come from:

bon/bonne (good) -> meilleur/e (better) -> le/la meilleur/e (the best)
(plural) bons / bonnes  -> meilleurs / meilleures  ->  les meilleurs / les meilleures

 

When to use bien (adverb) and therefore mieux

In French, you'll use the adverb bien and its comparative mieux when:

- making a general statement with être about something or someone being fine/OK/better/the best: 

C'est bien d'y aller à pied, mais c'est mieux de prendre le bus.
It's fine to walk there, but it's better to take the bus.

Et si je le mets comme ça ? - Oui, c'est mieux.
And if I put it like this? - Yes, that's better.

Ta télé est bien mais la mienne est mieux.
Your TV is fine but mine is better.

Tu préfères courir ou nager?- Nager, c'est mieux!
Do you prefer running or swimming? - Swimming, it's better!

 

- talking about an action (verb) being done well/better/the best: 

Laquelle de ces bouilloires marche le mieux?
Which of these kettles works the best?

De tous mes amis, tu es celui qui dessine le mieux.
Of all my friends, you're the one who draws the best.

Je cours bien, mais il court mieux que moi.
I run well, but he runs better than me.

Lady Gaga chante mieux que Lana Del Rey.
Lady Gaga sings better than Lana Del Rey.


These forms come from:

bien (well) -> mieux (better) -> le mieux (the best)

 

The negative cases are a bit different: 

- Plus mauvais(e) is the comparative form of the adjective mauvais/mauvaise;
Plus mal is the comparative form of the adverb mal
and
- Pire applies both to mauvais(e), and to general statements with être.

When to use pire or plus mauvais/e (adjective)

In French, you'll use the adjective mauvais and its comparative pire/plus mauvais when:

- qualifying something as bad/worse/the worst for a usage, or bad/worse/the worst in taste (food):  

Ton accent est mauvais, mais mon accent est pire que le tien.
Your accent is bad, but my accent is worse than yours.

Ton accent est mauvais, mais mon accent est plus mauvais que le tien.
Your accent is bad, but my accent is worse than yours.

Ces voitures sont les pires du monde. Ces voitures sont les plus mauvaises du monde.
These cars are the worst in the world.

Ses résultats sont plus mauvais que l'année dernière.
His results are worse than last year.

Ses résultats sont pires que l'année dernière.
His results are worse than last year.


- qualifying someone as a bad/worse/the worstperson or bad/worse/the worst at something:

Clarisse est la plus mauvaise élève de ma classe.
Clarisse is the worst pupil in my class.

Matt et Sylvain sont les pires élèves de la classe.
Matt and Sylvain are the worst students in the class.

Béatrice est plus mauvaise en français que moi.
Beatrice is worse at French than I am.

Béatrice est pire en français que moi.
Beatrice is worse at French than I am.

ATTENTION:
You can never use plus pire, as pire already contains the idea of more

These forms come from: 

mauvais/e (bad) -> pire  /  plus mauvais/e  (worse)
                           -> le/la pire    /   le/la plus mauvais/e   (the worst)

(plural) pires / mauvais / mauvaises  ->  les pires / les plus mauvais / les plus mauvaises   

 

When to use plus mal  (adverb)

In French, you'll use the adverb mal/plus mal when: 

- talking about an action (verb) being done badly/worse/the worst: 

Pierre joue mal, mais Louis joue encore plus mal que lui.
Pierre plays badly, but Louis plays even more badly than him. 

De toute l'équipe, c'est Karl qui danse le plus mal.
Out of the whole team, Karl is the one who dances the worst.

 

These forms come from:

mal (badly) -> plus mal (more badly / worse) -> le plus mal (the worst)


When to use pire in general statements  (adverb)

In French, you'll use the adverb pire when:

- making a general statement with être about something or someone being bad/worse/the worst:

C'est moins douloureux comme ça ? - Non, c'est pire !
Is it less painful like this? - No, it's worse!

C'est difficile de parler, mais c'est pire de se taire.
It's hard to talk, but it's worse to stay quiet.

Baptiste est mon pire ennemi.
Baptiste is my worst enemy.

 

 

For other Superlative forms, see:

Le, la, les plus and le, la, les moins = the most and the least (superlatives of adjectives)
Le plus and le moins = the most and the least (superlative of adverbs)

And for Comparative structures:

Plus... plus..., moins... moins... = the more...the more..., the less...the less... (comparisons with phrases)
Better and better, worse and worse = de mieux en mieux, de pire en pire (comparisons)
De plus en plus and de moins en moins = more and more and less and less (comparisons with adjectives, adverbs, verbs)
De plus en plus de and de moins en moins de = more and more and less and less (comparisons of nouns)
Making comparisons with adjectives: plus... que, aussi... que, moins... que
Making comparisons with adverbs: plus... que, aussi... que, moins... que
Making comparisons with verbs: plus que, autant que, moins que
Making comparisons with nouns: plus de... que, moins de... que, autant de... que 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

C'est la meilleure idée que tu aies jamais eue!
It's the best idea you've ever had!


Quel est le meilleur aspirateur?
Which is the best vacuum cleaner?


"Superlatives" by Jacqueline Doiron (FrenchByPhone.com)


Ton accent est mauvais, mais mon accent est plus mauvais que le tien.
Your accent is bad, but my accent is worse than yours.


C'est le pire examen du monde.
It's the worst exam in the world.


Tu préfères courir ou nager?- Nager, c'est mieux!
Do you prefer running or swimming? - Swimming, it's better!


Matt et Sylvain sont les pires élèves de la classe.
Matt and Sylvain are the worst students in the class.


Ta télé est bien mais la mienne est mieux.
Your TV is fine but mine is better.


Lady Gaga chante mieux que Lana Del Rey.
Lady Gaga sings better than Lana Del Rey.


Ces voitures sont les pires du monde. Ces voitures sont les plus mauvaises du monde.
These cars are the worst in the world.


De toute l'équipe, c'est Karl qui danse le plus mal.
Out of the whole team, Karl is the one who dances the worst.


Ses résultats sont pires que l'année dernière.
His results are worse than last year.


Je suis bon en maths, mais il est meilleur en maths que moi.
I'm good at maths, but he is better at maths than me.


Laquelle de ces bouilloires marche le mieux?
Which of these kettles works the best?


C'est bien d'y aller à pied, mais c'est mieux de prendre le bus.
It's fine to walk there, but it's better to take the bus.


Baptiste est mon pire ennemi.
Baptiste is my worst enemy.


Cette soupe est meilleure que la précédente.
This soup is better than the previous one.


Ces deux-là sont les meilleures amies du monde !
These two are the best friends in the world!


Pierre joue mal, mais Louis joue encore plus mal que lui.
Pierre plays badly, but Louis plays even more badly than him. 


Tu préfères le chocolat ou la vanille ? - La vanille, c'est bon, mais le chocolat, c'est meilleur !
Do you prefer chocolate or vanilla? - Vanilla is good, but chocolate is better!


Je cours bien, mais il court mieux que moi.
I run well, but he runs better than me.


Je suis le meilleur de ma classe.
I'm the best in my class.


Et si je le mets comme ça ? - Oui, c'est mieux.
And if I put it like this? - Yes, that's better.


Béatrice est pire en français que moi.
Beatrice is worse at French than I am.


Ton accent est mauvais, mais mon accent est pire que le tien.
Your accent is bad, but my accent is worse than yours.


Clarisse est la plus mauvaise élève de ma classe.
Clarisse is the worst pupil in my class.


C'est difficile de parler, mais c'est pire de se taire.
It's hard to talk, but it's worse to stay quiet.


De tous mes amis, tu es celui qui dessine le mieux.
Of all my friends, you're the one who draws the best.



Béatrice est plus mauvaise en français que moi.
Beatrice is worse at French than I am.


Ces bonbons sont meilleurs que les tiens: ce sont les meilleurs du monde.
These sweets are better than yours: they are the best in the world.


Ses résultats sont plus mauvais que l'année dernière.
His results are worse than last year.


C'est moins douloureux comme ça ? - Non, c'est pire !
Is it less painful like this? - No, it's worse!


Micro kwiz: Meilleur, mieux, pire / plus mauvais, plus mal = better, best, worse and worst (irregular comparatives and superlatives)
Loading your Kwiz

Q&A

CrystalMaiden

Kwiziq community member

29 March 2018

3 replies

Word order of jamais " ever "

Whenever I have jamais as in ever after a verb (like in, " que tu aies jamais eue! " the French spellcheck tries to correct it to add a ne to make jamais mean never. So I thought you had to put jamais right after the subject pronoun (" si jamais je le trouve. ") This isn't the case here, though, so that's confusing.

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

14 April 2018

14/04/18

Grammar checkers are, unfortunately, still very unreliable. You can't trust them I'm afraid. The same goes for software translation. They're getting better every year but don't rely on them to learn grammar!


More info here:
https://french.kwiziq.com/french-grammar-checkers

CrystalMaiden

Kwiziq community member

15 April 2018

15/04/18

So was I right or not? Do you put " ever " before the verb? You're ignoring my question.




Also, grammar checkers have done a LOT to help me do stuff like remember which genders words are and to make adjectives agree in gender with the nouns right and sometimes they correct the tense for me and all that other stuff, so you're not giving them enough credit for beginners here.

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

15 April 2018

15/04/18

So long as you cross check whatever the grammar checker is telling you and don't just trust that it's true, they can be useful. The issue is people assuming they're "authoritative" sources when in reality they're often completely wrong or misleading.


You're right though, I did forget to answer the actual question. :)


Jamais meaning "ever" can go in various places in sentences.


"Si jamais..." (If ever...) is a very common expression. You could also say "Si je jamais..." but it's much less common.


Other useful expression:


"... que jamais" (...than ever) after a comparative.


"...à jamais" (... for ever)


"...à tout jamais" (for ever and ever).


Hope that helps.

Dragana

Kwiziq community member

5 February 2018

1 reply

Comparatives/Superlatives - Bon/Bien/Meilleur/Mieux etc

this is one of the most difficult exercises for me to understand - whilst I read all your examples over and over, I still cannot grasp the usage - It is possible to have a quiz on just this exercise? With lots of questions and either fill in the blanks or complete the sentence with own text? I need BOOT CAMP on this. cheers Dragana

Chris

Kwiziq community member

5 February 2018

5/02/18

Hi Dragana, you are definitely not alone on this. While the topic is too large to answer here in the forum, I definitely think that it would benefit from more and more specific lessons and exercises.

I hope someone from kwiziq is going to take notice, because there have been many questions about this topic.

-- Chris.

Glen

Kwiziq community member

8 January 2018

3 replies

Meilleur vs Mieux

I've checked this one using the Google translator and it agrees with me that the correct translation should be: Son copain est gentil mais le mien est meilleur (not mieux). Please explain.

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

15 March 2018

15/03/18

Hi both,


In the example you give Glen, i would agree that a comparative should be 'plus gentil' as meilleur or mieux in the answer is too vague. I feel like saying 'better in what way?'


Strictly speaking,


bon (adj.)  becomes meilleur


and


bien (adv.) becomes mieux .


Hope this helps!


 


 


 


 

Chris

Kwiziq community member

8 January 2018

8/01/18

This is a subtle point which has come up many times before on Q&A, so it might be a good idea to add a lesson or two on this (if Aurélie sees this).

Actually, both are correct, Glen. Their meaning is subtly different, though. Not much but a bit. Être is a verb describing a state of being and hence can take both, adjective and adverb. Let me elaborate.

Mon copain est mieux. Here the adverb relates to the verb être and says that my friend IS better.

Mon copain est meilleur. The adjective meilleur relates to "mon copain" and hence says that MY FRIEND is better, i.e., my friend, the person, is better.

Just mull these two ways of formulating the sentence over and meditate on them for a bit. There isn't much of a difference but there is some. Indon't know how to explain it any better, though.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Glen

Kwiziq community member

8 January 2018

8/01/18

Hi Chris, thanks for getting back to me. I appreciate it.

My take is that the comparative (in context) seems to refer to "gentil" in which case meilleur appears to be more appropriate. As an example, if (for clarity) I were to rewrite the english as "His friend is kind but mine is kinder", I would translate it as "son ami est gentil mais le mien est plus gentil."

I think that the distinction that you make is, perhaps, too subtle. Yes, some further direction and clarification from Aurélie would be useful.

Kind regards


Glen

richa

Kwiziq community member

8 January 2018

2 replies

Will it be correct to use " ma télé est bonne mais la tienne est meilleure"

Aurélie

Kwiziq language super star

8 January 2018

8/01/18

Bonjour Richa !

Yes, you could also use "bonne/meilleure" here, it would be a more specific comment on how good, i.e. functional, your TV is, rather than an all-encompassing comment :)

Bonne journée !

richa

Kwiziq community member

9 January 2018

9/01/18

Merci Aurélie!

Rene

Kwiziq community member

22 November 2017

3 replies

Similar question.

Ta télé est bien. télé is a noun, why not say "ta télé est bonne"?

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

28 March 2018

28/03/18

Hi Rene,


Technically in this example, 'ta télé est bien' is correct as 'bien' follows the verb 'to be' and therefore is correct.


You wouldn't say 'ta télé est bonne' but you might say: 'C'est une bonne télé'.


Hope this helps!

Ron

Kwiziq community member

23 November 2017

23/11/17

Here is the explanation from the lesson:
«When to use bien (adverb) and therefore mieux
In French, you'll use the adverb bien and its comparative mieux when:
- making a general statement with être about something or someone being fine/OK/better/the best:
Example: Ta télé est bien mais la mienne est mieux. --> Your TV is fine but mine is better.

I hope that helps.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

24 November 2017

24/11/17

Knowing when to use bien and when to use bon canbe confusion sometimes. With verbs that describe a state of being such as "être" the use of "bien" is favored. It wouldn't be entirely wrong to use "bon" but it means something different:

La télé is bien. -- The TV is good.
La télé est bonne. The TV is a good one.

-- Chris.

P.S.: Laura on her site has a valuable lesson on that:
https://www.thoughtco.com/bon-vs-bien-1368817

Rene

Kwiziq community member

22 November 2017

16 replies

C'est bon vs est bonne

The example says "la vanille, c'est bonne". why not "la vanille est bonne"? Especially since the ext sentence says "ces bonbons sont bons".

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

28 March 2018

28/03/18

Hi Rene,


Hoping this might clarify things a bit and I can understand your frustation...


After 'C'est' , always use the masculine form of the adjective:


c'est bon, c'est grand, c'est petit, c'est important ...


regardless of what you are talking about.


Another way of saying you like something is to use the construction: 


le chocolat, c'est bon,


les fraises, c'est bon,


la vanille, c'est bon,


regardless of gender etc..


but if you talk of a particular item and you want to say it is  tasty , you may say:


les fraises des bois sont bonnes 


le sel de Guérande est bon


la vanille de Madagascar est bonne ...


and then the adjective will agree with the noun it refers to.


Hope this helps!


 

Ron

Kwiziq community member

23 November 2017

23/11/17

Bonjour Rene,
The gender agreement is always masculine when using «c'est».
Here is the note from the lesson:
«ATTENTION: when using il/elle, you have to make adjectives agree accordingly, whereas you always use the masculine with c'est. »
And here is the lesson:
https://french.kwiziq.com/my-languages/french/view/4671

Bonne chance,
Ron

Rene

Kwiziq community member

23 November 2017

23/11/17

Merci Ron. I understand the theory, I re-read the other lesson BUT I still have my 2 original doubts:
1. The example says " la vanille, c'est bon". Why not "la vanille est bonne"?
2. The next example says "ces bonbons sont bons". Why not "'ces bonbons, c'est bon" ?

What determines the use of 'c'est + masculine-ending-adjective' and "il/elle bon/bonne"?
Thank you.

Rene

Kwiziq community member

23 November 2017

23/11/17

In other words: if I read "la vanille, c'est bon" or "la vanille est bonne", I know roughly what it means (I understand the basic concept).
I SIMPLY DON'T KNOW when to use "la vanille, c'est bon" and "la vanille est bonne"

Ron

Kwiziq community member

23 November 2017

23/11/17

Masculine gender agreement ONLY follows the use of «c'est», hence la vanille, c'est bon (not bonne). Ces bonbons is not the same as saying c'est and bonbon is a masculine noun.
Let me find another site resource for you:
Here is one of my favorites:
http://laits.utexas.edu/tex/gr/pro3.html
(I do not like to recommend sites outside of Kwiziq but at times, another perspective can open the door to understanding). Anyway, this site is from the Univ. of Texas at Austin French department and one of my French profs actually recommended it to me. The lesson is followed by quiz questions so one can test their knowledge.
As for your second post, the use of «c'est» follows this general rule or pattern; assuming you are a native English speaker:
The house, it is pretty --> In this phrase, the subject is «house» then the pronoun «it» is used in the phrase «it is pretty». However, in French it would look like this:
La maison, c'est joli. (this is just for an example) While «maison» is the subject and a noun, in the phrase that become c'est joli, again with masculine gender agreement following «c'est» as per the grammar rule. I understand when you say «I SIMPLY DON'T KNOW when to use "la vanille, c'est bon" and "la vanille est bonne"», but pronouns function in French much like they do in English, i.e. a noun is replaced by a pronoun.
Bonne chance et bonne continuation,

Ron

Rene

Kwiziq community member

23 November 2017

23/11/17

Ron, merci beacoup pour l'explication et le lien.
I am still hung up on "la vanille, c'est bon" and "la vanille est bonne".

When I read French, I realize that French people have TWO WAYS of saying "vanilla is good".
In English, I have only one way of saying it: "vanilla is good".
So, if I want to say that in French, what rule or thought process do I use to choose?

If I want to say "vanilla is good". First I have to add "la" -> "la vanille".
What do I do next? How do I choose between "la vanille est bonne"(which seems easy for me) or the more complicated form "la vanille, c'est bon" ?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

23 November 2017

23/11/17

I think that you are trying to compare apples and oranges, here's my reasoning:
1) la vanille, c'est bon
2) la vanille est bonne
These are two entirely different locutions -- «la vanille est bonne» is a simple statement saying that the vanilla is good, there is no use of the pronoun-phrase c'est, while in the phrase «la vanille, c'est bon» is a little more complex, i.e. the vanilla has been mentioned in the discussion previously. Example: I like vanilla --> J'aime la vanille. Then, during the course of the discussion the other person states, Ah, vanilla, yes it is good --> Ah, la vanille, oui, c'est bon.
This same scenario could also be used with other feminin nouns, i.e.une maison, une chaise, la gardienne, etc.
The grammar rule applies ONLY when the «fixed phrase c'est» is used .
I hope this clarifies this for you since I don't know any other ways of explaining it. Should you have further questions, I shall defer to Aurélie for those.
Best wishes,
Ron

Rene

Kwiziq community member

24 November 2017

24/11/17

Ron, merci encore une fois.
I'm still hung up.
"Tu aimes la vanille? Oui, c'est bon" I accept it "by faith, it's a French thing" even though I don't understand.
"la vanille, c'est bon" seems different to me..
I wish I could understand it, but if it's too difficult, then I'll just move on.
French is just my hobby. I don't need to know it perfectly. Aurelie, could you help?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

24 November 2017

24/11/17

Bien sûr, bonne chance et bonne continuation.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

24 November 2017

24/11/17

Vanilla is good. -- La vanille est bonne.
Vanilla, it's good. -- La vanille, c'est bon.

As Ron pointed out, the subject of the clause is "vanilla" in the first case and "ce" (as in c'est) in the second case. Hence the adjective takes on the female form "bonne" in the first sentence since it agrees with vanilla. In the second sentance it is in the male form "bon" because you have to agree it with "ce".

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Rene

Kwiziq community member

24 November 2017

24/11/17

Merci Chris.
I still don't understand when I should CHOOSE to write "la vanille est bonne" or "la vanille, c'est bon"
That's okay. I'm moving on..
French is my hobby, I don't need to write it perfectly!
Thanks for all the grammar (male/female explanations).

Too bad no one can explain to me:
French use "la vanille, c'est bon" ... (this is what I am missing)
They use "la vanille est bonne".....
I'll never know the answer.

Lemme see... WHEN do I use one or the other?

Maybe it's a mystery...

I'll go ponder the meaning of life.
:)

Chris

Kwiziq community member

24 November 2017

24/11/17

The question is a stylistic one, not a grammatical one. The French often use this kind of repetition of the subject:

La vanilla c'est bon. -- Vanilla vs. ce
Moi je ne viens pas. -- Moi vs. je
Anne est-elle à la maison? -- Anne vs. elle

All different situations, to be sure, but it gives you a hint as to which construction is favored. Don't fret it, just roll with it.

-- Chris.

Rene

Kwiziq community member

24 November 2017

24/11/17

Merci.

Rene

Kwiziq community member

28 March 2018

28/03/18

Hello Cécile, merci pour votre réponse. 


Can o assume the, that the ce construction is play for general statements? Ex : ma soeur aime bien la vanille. Ah oui, (la vanille, ) c'est bon: oh yes, it's good (here vanilla is a general thing). 


But more definite things require the other construction! la vanille de Madagascar est bonne. J'aime beaucoup les fraises des bois sont bonnes. Elles sont très bonnes. En fait, elles sont délicieuses !


Another example: general: J'aime beaucoup le musique. C'est passionant. La pizza, c'est délicieux.


Definite : la musique classique est passionante. La pizza de Chez Luigi est délicieuse. 


Est-ce que je suis en train de comprendre ce sujet ?


:) 

Rene

Kwiziq community member

28 March 2018

28/03/18

Lots of typos in my reply... sorry..  mon poche téléphone est affreux !

Cécile

Kwiziq language super star

28 March 2018

28/03/18

Hi Rene , 


I think you've cracked it ... well done! :-)

Leah

Kwiziq community member

13 November 2017

4 replies

Why "bien" is used to describe certain nouns (instead of an adjective).....

When one is expressing satisfaction with something, "bien" is used. Ce film est bien.... C'est bien, je suis heureuse avec cela.

Ron

Kwiziq community member

14 November 2017

14/11/17

Bonsoir Leah,
«Ce film s'est très bien passé» I was satisfied with the film, it went well.
«Ce film m'a plu bien» I was satisfied with the film, it pleased me.
Would you please provide the source for the information you gave?
Merci en avance.

Leah

Kwiziq community member

14 November 2017

14/11/17

Bonjour Ron,

I found it by googling.... https://frenchtogether.com/bien-bon/
Best,

leah

Chris

Kwiziq community member

15 November 2017

15/11/17

Don't forget that "bien" has acquired also some other meanings apart from being the adverb of the adjective "bon/bonne". It also means, e.g., "many" as in: "Il y a bien des gens." -- There are many people. Or "Je te souhaite bien des choses." -- I wish you all the best.

Then, in conjunction with the verb "être", both options bien and bon are frequently possible and connote a slightly different meaning.

Il est bien -- He is good. Because the adverb "bien" refers to the verb "être".
Il est bon. -- He is a good guy/person/athlete/etc. Here the "bon" refers to a substantive which must be inferred from context.

Another example. Suppose you are invited to a family dinner and, after the meal, you make a compliment and say either:

C'était bien. -- It was good (in the sense that the cooking was great, hence the adverb).
C'était bon. -- It was good (in the sense that "it" refers to the meal, i.e., the meal was good).

I hope this helps to clarify this sometimes confusing issue a bit.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Leah

Kwiziq community member

15 November 2017

15/11/17

Merci beaucoup, Chris!

Leah

Kwiziq community member

12 November 2017

3 replies

Are people and food described with bon..meilleur (adjectives); other nouns take bien...mieux?

Am so confused. Can anyone help? Cette maison est bien? Une bonne maison? Ma meilleure amie....

Ron

Kwiziq community member

13 November 2017

13/11/17

Bonsoir Leah,
Assuming that your langue maternal is English, the same rules for the use of adjective and adverb apply in French, i.e. adjective modifies a noun or pronoun while an adverb modifies a verb, adjective or other adverb. So, keeping this in mind let's look at a couple of lessons points:
When to use bon/bonne (ADJECTIVE) and therefore meilleur
In French, you'll use the adjective bon and its comparative meilleur when:
1) - qualifying something as good/better/the best for a usage, or good/better/the best in taste (food)
2) - qualifying someone as a good/better/the best person or good/better/the best at something

When to use bien (ADVERB) and therefore mieux
In French, you'll use the adverb bien and its comparative mieux when:
1) - making a general statement with être about something or someone being fine/OK/better/the best:
2) - talking about an action (verb) being done well/better/the best

There are other grammar rules that cover this, but these are the primary ones.

J'espère que ma réponse vous aiderait.
Bonne chance et bonne continuation dans vos études en français, la langue de Molière et qui a été utilisée par le monde français depuis l’époque d’Hugues Capet

Ron (un locuteur non natif )

Leah

Kwiziq community member

13 November 2017

13/11/17

Bonjour Ron,
Merci pour votre reponse. Your answer makes complete sense to me as I have a good understanding of adjectives/adverbs in english. However, in english "good" (adj) would be used to describe a house, but in french, "C'est maison est bien" is correct. Bien is an adverb. I was taught that "is" is a linking verb and therefore always requires an adjective.
And, with in french, food is described with "bon" and not "bien." Why the difference between the two different nouns.

Leah

Ron

Kwiziq community member

13 November 2017

13/11/17

I think the nuanced difference has to do with the first rule under adverb about general statements with être where bien is the correct response.

Leah

Kwiziq community member

10 November 2017

1 reply

Mieux vs meilleur

Correct answer in test: "Elle (referring to la maison) est mieux que l'autre. In the lesson the example is "Les bonbons sont meilleurs que.... Noun + Etre +..meilleur or mieux. I would have thought it would be meilleure. $

Chris

Kwiziq community member

11 November 2017

11/11/17

I just conferred with a native French speaker and learned the following:

Ma maison est mieux que la tienne.
Mes bonbons sont meilleurs que les tiens.

Two completely parallel grammatical constructions but different use of adverb vs. adjective. Maybe Aurélie can weigh in here.

-- Chris (who conferred with a native speaker).

helen

Kwiziq community member

9 October 2017

4 replies

mieux instead of meilleure

Here's an example from your quiz: "Annette est meilleure en natation que Julie." Since we're referring to "swimming", a verb...wouldn't we use "mieux" here instead of "meilleure?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

9 October 2017

9/10/17

Bonjour Helen,
In a word, no. Mieux is an adverb that modifies: a verb, an adjective or another adverb (if I recall correctly). In the phrase: «Annette est meilleure en natation que Julie.», la natation is a noun which, in turn requires an adjective not an adverb, hence the use of meilleure. Also the adjective is modifying Annette by describing her as better.
«- Meilleur/meilleure is the comparative form of the adjective bon/bonne
- Mieux is the comparative form of the adverb bien.»
a simple phrase such as «Annette est bonne en natation» --> Annette is good in swimming.
Now let's take a look at this phrase.
Annette swims better than Julie --> Annette nage mieux que Julie. From this phrase we see that «mieux» is used in an adverbial sense.
Adverb use in French follows basically the same rules as it does in English grammar.
J'espère que ma réponse vous aiderait.
Bonne chance et bonne continuation dans vos études en français, la langue de Molière et qui a été utilisé par le monde français depuis l’époque d’Hugues Capet

helen

Kwiziq community member

9 October 2017

9/10/17

OK. I thought "en natation" was a verb, meaning "swimming". Since it's a noun meillure makes since. Thanks.

Chris

Kwiziq community member

17 October 2017

17/10/17

Ron explained it quite well. Maybe juxtaposing two examples will help here:

Anne est meilleure en natation : Anne is "the better one" in swimming = Ann is the better swimmer. Clearly, meilleure modifies the person, Anne, and hence needs to be an adjective.

Anne nage mieux : Anne swims better. Here mieux modifies the verb (to swim) and therefore we need the adverb (mieux) and not the adjective (meilleure).

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Chris

Kwiziq community member

17 October 2017

17/10/17

Darn, I just realized that Ron has pretty much given these two examples. Sorry for doubleposting.

-- Chris.
Let me take a look at that...