un garçon vilain


Kwiziq community member

27 July 2017

3 replies

un garçon vilain

Apparently vilain comes before the noun, but doesn't that adjective put the boy into a distinct category? and thus shouldn't it come after the noun? On the other hand lots of adjectives that come before the noun seem to me to put them into categories too. Such as genteel....How to see the difference?


Kwiziq community member

28 July 2017


I learned the acronym BANGS. B = Beaty (joli, belle, beau, ...) A = Age (jeune, vielle, ...) N = Number (première, deux, ...) G = Good/Bad (bon, mauvais, vilain, ...) S = Size (petit, grande, gros, ...) There are still lots of adjectives I'm finding to fit in those categories but they are pretty good for deciding if it goes before or after the noun. Note that placement can also be based on a figurative or literal basis. "C'est mon ancien ami." can be translated as, "That is my former friend". Using, "C'est mon ami ancien.", is "That is my old friend." In my experience you'll have to work with BANGS a lot more than figurative/literal.


Kwiziq community member

28 July 2017


Bonjour Ann, Here is another example where the placement changes meaning: Il est un homme grand. He is a big or tall man. literal Il est un grand homme. He is a great man. (Think deGaulle, Churchill) figurative Bonne chance,


Kwiziq language super star

9 August 2017


Bonjour Ann !

Generally speaking, a lot of adjectives can be used either before or after the noun, and here is the nuance: "after" adjectives' meaning is more literal, objective or based on neutral observation (un garçon vilain is a statement on his physical appearance = an ugly boy); whereas "before" adjectives take on more of a subjective, figurative or based on opinion meaning (un vilain garçon refers more to his temperament, personality = a naughty boy).

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

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