Compound colour names and colour names derived from things are invariable

There are two cases of colour adjectives that never agree nor change.

When the colour is described by a phrase containing two or more words (black and white, dark green, light blue...)

Il a des yeux bleus, des yeux bleu clair.
He has blue eyes, light blue eyes.

Tu as une jupe blanche?
- Oui, et une robe noir et blanc.

Do you have a white skirt?
- Yes, and a black and white dress.

C'était une voiture verte.  
- Oui, une voiture vert foncé.

It was a green car.  
- Yes, a dark green car.

Pour le 14 juillet, les gens portent des cocardes bleu blanc rouge.
For Bastille Day, people wear blue-white-red rosettes.

When the colour actually derives from a real thing like a fruit, material, animal (orange, chestnut)

J'ai une jupe orange et des boucles d'oreille orange.
I have an orange dress and orange earrings.

J'ai les yeux marron.
I have brown [chestnut] eyes.

Je ne trouve plus mes chaussettes framboise !
I can't find my raspberry socks!

Elles portaient des robes ivoire.
They wore ivory dresses.

J'adore ses mocassins taupe.
I love his taupe ("mole" in French) moccasins.

 

See also regular colour adjectives: Colour descriptions change according to gender and number (adjectives) 

 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

J'adore ses mocassins taupe.
I love his taupe ("mole" in French) moccasins.


J'ai les yeux marron.
I have brown [chestnut] eyes.


Je ne trouve plus mes chaussettes framboise !
I can't find my raspberry socks!


Pour le 14 juillet, les gens portent des cocardes bleu blanc rouge.
For Bastille Day, people wear blue-white-red rosettes.


compound adjective


Tu as une jupe blanche?
- Oui, et une robe noir et blanc.

Do you have a white skirt?
- Yes, and a black and white dress.


C'était une voiture verte.  
- Oui, une voiture vert foncé.

It was a green car.  
- Yes, a dark green car.


Il a des yeux bleus, des yeux bleu clair.
He has blue eyes, light blue eyes.


noun


J'ai une jupe orange et des boucles d'oreille orange.
I have an orange dress and orange earrings.


Elles portaient des robes ivoire.
They wore ivory dresses.


Q&A Forum 5 questions, 6 answers

one of the test questions was "how would you say 'the monster revealed white, sharp canines'

Asked 1 month ago

one of the test questions was "how would you say 'the monster revealed white, sharp canines'

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DeAnnaC1

Would “rose” be an invariable color?

Would it be correct to say,  ”J’aime des roses rose!”
Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

Hi DeAnna,

according to the lesson (Colour descriptions change according to gender and number (adjectives)) the correct way to say it is:

J'aime les roses roses. -- I love pink roses.

In general, colors derived from object names such as orange (an orange) or marron (le marron/the chestnut) stay immutable. However, the color rose (pink) does vary, even though it seems to derive from a real object, too.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Greetings, -- Chris (not a native speaker).

DeAnna asked:View original

Would “rose” be an invariable color?

Would it be correct to say,  ”J’aime des roses rose!”

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Les feuilles oranges?

In week 81 of the A2 writing challenge, there is a canonical translation "les feuilles rouges, jaunes et oranges". Why does "orange" have the -s suffix? I thought it was a color derived from a real thing and as such, it doesn't change.
Asked 1 year ago
Yes, you are correct. Some color adjectives -- namely those who are directly taken from the names of fruits -- remain unchanged and don't accord to the noun which they describe. It seems to me that there is an error in the lesson. Would be nice if Amélie or Laura could chime in. -- Chris (not a native speaker).
Just asked a native French speaker and she said that probably the vast majority would say "les feulles oranges" even though it is incorrect. -- Chris (not a native speaker).

Les feuilles oranges?

In week 81 of the A2 writing challenge, there is a canonical translation "les feuilles rouges, jaunes et oranges". Why does "orange" have the -s suffix? I thought it was a color derived from a real thing and as such, it doesn't change.

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TamaniA2

Des yeux noisette--Correct

I thought I was following the rule: this phrase is not a compound adjective, nor does the color derive from a real thing.
Asked 2 years ago
LauraKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Tamani, Des yeux noisette is correct because "noisette" is a real thing: it means hazelnut.
TamaniA2
Bonjour Laura, Thank you! Yes, I googled 'noisette' and discovered it is a hazelnut. I wish I'd known that before taking the test!
Tamani asked:View original

Des yeux noisette--Correct

I thought I was following the rule: this phrase is not a compound adjective, nor does the color derive from a real thing.

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So a compound colour always reverts to the masculine form?

Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Robyn, Yes, because in French, the masculine singular form is considered as the "original" form which then changes according to rules of agreement. I know.... :)

So a compound colour always reverts to the masculine form?

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