Bien, mal, mieux, moins, peu (irregular adverbs)

We've already learned about Forming regular adverbs with -ment (feminine adjective + -ment).

However, some adverbs have irregular stems, meaning that they differ from the original adjective.
And some are just completely irregular.


Here is a table of these irregular adverbs:

Feminine adjective English Irregular adverb English
gentille kind gentiment kindly
brève brief brièvement  briefly
bonne good bien well
mauvaise bad mal badly
petite small peu not much
moindre lesser moins less
meilleure better mieux better

Listen to these examples:

Le bon nageur plonge bien.
The good swimmer dives well.

C'était une brève rencontre: je l'ai vu brièvement.
It was a brief meeting: I saw him briefly.

Une moindre personne lirait moins.
A lesser person would read less.

Le meilleur élève parle mieux français que moi. 
The best pupil speaks French better than me.

Un mauvais vin vieillit mal. 
A bad wine ages badly.

Elle a une petite voix: on l'entend peu.
She has a small voice: we don't hear her much.

Elle est gentille, et elle parle gentiment.
She is kind, and she speaks kindly.

See also the related lesson:
Meilleur, mieux, pire / plus mauvais, plus mal = better, best, worse and worst (irregular comparatives and superlatives)

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Elle est gentille, et elle parle gentiment.
She is kind, and she speaks kindly.


Le bon nageur plonge bien.
The good swimmer dives well.



Le meilleur élève parle mieux français que moi. 
The best pupil speaks French better than me.


Une moindre personne lirait moins.
A lesser person would read less.


C'était une brève rencontre: je l'ai vu brièvement.
It was a brief meeting: I saw him briefly.


Elle a une petite voix: on l'entend peu.
She has a small voice: we don't hear her much.


Un mauvais vin vieillit mal. 
A bad wine ages badly.


Q&A Forum 4 questions, 6 answers

LoriB1Kwiziq community member

why is 'moi et toi avons compris' incorrect

when tested on a multiple quiz the selections were 'Moi et toi avons compris la même chose.' or Toi et moi avons compris la même chose.'  I chose Moi et toi and was incorrect.

Asked 7 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Lori, 

I expect this is just a question of convention as in English you wouldn't put yourself first...

why is 'moi et toi avons compris' incorrect

when tested on a multiple quiz the selections were 'Moi et toi avons compris la même chose.' or Toi et moi avons compris la même chose.'  I chose Moi et toi and was incorrect.

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NicoleB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

About the adjective "meilleure"...

I thought "meilleure" meant "best" rather than "better," which is the meaning it's given in the chart. In the sample sentence "Le meilleur élève..." is said to mean "The best pupil..." So again, why in the chart is it said to mean better rather than best, as in the sentence? Thanks in advance.

Asked 9 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Nicole,

It is because of the article ‘le’ in front of meilleur which makes it ‘best’.

Le meilleur élève de la classe est Martin = The best pupil in the class is Martin But -

Marie est meilleure en anglais que Pauline = Marie is better in English than Pauline

Hope this helps!

NicoleB1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Hi Cécilie,

Thanks for your reply, as always! It seems twice now I've ended up finding a different lesson that has the answer after I post my original question. Now that I'm in level B1 I see the full lesson, which explained it well. But thank you for responding and pointing out the difference.   :)

About the adjective "meilleure"...

I thought "meilleure" meant "best" rather than "better," which is the meaning it's given in the chart. In the sample sentence "Le meilleur élève..." is said to mean "The best pupil..." So again, why in the chart is it said to mean better rather than best, as in the sentence? Thanks in advance.

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ArndisA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

How is the gender relevant?

The lesson talks about feminine adjectives, but these adjectives can also be masculine, like bon and gentil. Why does it talk about them as feminine? 
Asked 1 year ago
AurélieKwiziq team member

Bonjour Arndís !

The part about feminine adjectives refers to how to form regular adverbs, whereas this lesson is about irregular ones :)

I agree that it can be a bit confusing, so I've rephrased this intro to remove ambiguity.

Bonne journée !

ArndisA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Thank you for the clarification, Aurélie! 

How is the gender relevant?

The lesson talks about feminine adjectives, but these adjectives can also be masculine, like bon and gentil. Why does it talk about them as feminine? 

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CatherineB2Kwiziq community member

A question about one of the above sentences

In the sentence above that says "Elle a une petite voix: on l'entend peu", why is that translated as "She has a small voice: We don't hear her much". I would have thought that "on l'entend peu" would have translated to 'we hear her much'. Would you please explain this? Thank you. Catherine
Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour Catherine - Peu means little, so "on l'entend peu" can be translated as either "we hear her little" or, more idiomatically, "we don't hear her much."

A question about one of the above sentences

In the sentence above that says "Elle a une petite voix: on l'entend peu", why is that translated as "She has a small voice: We don't hear her much". I would have thought that "on l'entend peu" would have translated to 'we hear her much'. Would you please explain this? Thank you. Catherine

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