Position of the word 'ancien'

TomC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Position of the word 'ancien'

'Si vous regardez derrière moi, sur l'ancien mur de la ville..'. Does this mean the 'former' wall or the 'ancient' wall?

The English text said, 'If you look behind me, on the ancient wall of the city'. But when ancien means 'ancient' doesn't it go after the noun?

Asked 5 months ago
JimC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Salut Tom,

Presumably, the city today has a recognised boundary to it that is no longer as it was historically.

So reference to the former boundary city wall would be, just that, the former wall.

It is an interesting point that you raise but to express this as the former wall could work within my understanding of the context.

Hope this helps.

Bonne journée

Jim

TomC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Thanks Jim.

AdrianC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Come to that, it's both former and ancient, so it's still surprising that "mur ancien" (the literal translation) is marked wrong. 

This one has got me before; there does seem to be some rule about the position of "ancien" in complex descriptions, but I can't find it explained.

JimC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Bonjour Adrian,

I understand your frustration -- this is a very tricky aspect of French grammar.

https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/questions/view/adjective-positions

https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/questions/view/adjective-positions

I have included a couple of previous posts which I hope will give you a wider understanding of this issue as discussed in the past.

I hope that you will find this input helpful.

Bonne journée

Jim

Position of the word 'ancien'

'Si vous regardez derrière moi, sur l'ancien mur de la ville..'. Does this mean the 'former' wall or the 'ancient' wall?

The English text said, 'If you look behind me, on the ancient wall of the city'. But when ancien means 'ancient' doesn't it go after the noun?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Ask a question

Find your French level for FREE

Test your French to the CEFR standard

Find your French level
I'll be right with you...