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Neuf vs nouveau = New

Look at these examples:

Léo a reçu un vélo tout neuf pour son anniversaire.
Leo received a brand new bike for his birthday.

J'ai acheté un nouveau vélo.
I bought a new bike.

C'est une voiture d'occasion?- Non, elle est neuve.
Is it a second-hand car?- No, it's new.

Emilie a trouvé sa nouvelle table au marché aux puces.
Emilie found her new table at the flea market.


Notice that there is a nuance in French between neuf/neuve and nouveau/nouvelle.

While both mean 'new', neuf implies that it's never been used before, brand new (Note that it cannot apply to living things, e.g. pets), whereas nouveau just means 'new' in a more general sense.

In some context, obviously, both are correct.

However, the main difference of usage is the position in the sentence:
- neuf is placed AFTER the noun
- nouveau is placed BEFORE the noun

 

See also  Beau, nouveau, vieux, fou, mou have two masculine forms and one feminine form 

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

J'ai acheté un nouveau vélo.
I bought a new bike.


Léo a reçu un vélo tout neuf pour son anniversaire.
Leo received a brand new bike for his birthday.


Emilie a trouvé sa nouvelle table au marché aux puces.
Emilie found her new table at the flea market.


C'est une voiture d'occasion?- Non, elle est neuve.
Is it a second-hand car?- No, it's new.


Micro kwiz: Neuf vs nouveau = New
Loading your Kwiz

Q&A

Antonia

Kwiziq community member

10 March 2018

1 reply

J’ai acheté un nouveau vélo

Antonia

Kwiziq community member

10 March 2018

10/03/18

Why would yuou not use - j’ai acheté un velo neuf as the bike is brand new?

John

Kwiziq community member

19 January 2018

1 reply

C'est une voiture d'occasion?- Non, elle ou c'est...

Shouldn't the second sentence in this example read, Non, c'est neuf or Non, c'est nouveau, with a masculine adjective?

Chris

Kwiziq community member

19 January 2018

19/01/18

It is "la voiture", therefore "elle" and "neuve" both are in the feminine form since they refer to it.
You don't say "c'est.." because you refer to a specific vehicle, in which case you use "elle" instead of the impersonal "ce".


Here is the lesson on this: https://progress.lawlessfrench.com/revision/grammar/when-to-use-cest-or-il-est-elle-est-to-say-it-is


-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Deborah

Kwiziq community member

10 September 2017

2 replies

Why is the French word for "new" used so differently?

Ron

Kwiziq community member

10 September 2017

10/09/17

Bonjour Deborah,
A very good question indeed. This is a great example of how French differs from English and from the tone of your question, I understand where you are coming from.
Masculine Feminine
neuf neuve
nouveau nouvelle
nouvel
While these are all in the singular, there are plural versions too and like most adjectives, they will agree in gender and number with the noun each modifies, i.e.
a new student (m)---> un nouvel étudiant
a new student (f) ---> une nouvelle étudiante
a new boy (m) --> un nouveau garçon
I hope this is helpful to you.
Bonne chance.

Ron

Kwiziq community member

17 September 2017

17/09/17

Neuf ou nouveau
Ces deux adjectifs expriment, tous les deux, la nouveauté, mais la similitude s'arrête là. Ce qui est neuf est récent: la ville neuve naît sur un champ de berreraves qu'on a défriché, on s'achète une voiture neuve pour frimer, et quand on est vêtu de neuf, on se trouve beau. La jeune fille coquette , mais fauchée, peut même faire du neuf avec du vieux en recyclant ses vêtements vintage. L'opération faire peau neuve est valable pour un magasin dans le but de séduire ses clients, mais elle est plus difficile pour un individu. Ne croyez jamais celui qui vous dit: «Je suis un homme neuf».
Le nouveau s'inscrit dans une lignée, il est à la place de, et il sera remplacé à son tour. Le beaujolais nouveau et les pommes de terre nouvelles ne resteront pas nouveaux longtemps, pas plus que le nouvelle tendance qui fait lacérer les jeans et trouer les pulls.
Avec une majuscule, ce qui est Nouveau perd son caractère éphémère. Il devient référence, comme l'Art nouveau, ou le Nouveau Testament.

Ajit

Kwiziq community member

8 June 2017

2 replies

Ma mère m'a acheté une robe ________. Why neuve and not neuf?

Nicholas

Kwiziq community member

8 June 2017

8/06/17

neuve is feminin, adjectives agree with their noun, in this case une robe. If masculin it would be neuf, un miroir neuf for example.

Ajit

Kwiziq community member

9 June 2017

9/06/17

Thanks for the explanation. It helped.

Lily

Kwiziq community member

31 December 2016

1 reply

The lessons and kwizes contradict each other

The lesson translates "Is it a second-hand car?- No, it's new." to "C'est une voiture d'occasion? - Non, elle est neuve." However the kwizes say it should be "neuf". Which one is correct?

Lily

Kwiziq community member

31 December 2016

31/12/16

Oh I figured it out! the lesson uses "UNE voiture" and the kwiz uses "UN camion." That makes more sense now!
Getting that for you now.