Short and common adjectives that go BEFORE nouns (adjective position)

In French, the main rule regarding the position of adjectives is that they usually come AFTER the noun, [see Adjectives usually go AFTER nouns (adjective position)], but as always in French, there are exceptions

Here is a list of short and very common adjectives that go BEFORE the noun:

Masculine and feminine forms English
bon / bonne
good
mauvais / mauvaise
bad
beau / belle
beautiful, handsome
joli / jolie
pretty
vilain / vilaine
ugly, nasty/naughty
jeune
young
vieux / vieille
old
grand / grande
big, tall
petit / petite
small, little
gros / grosse
big, fat
faux / fausse
false
bref / brève
brief, short
long / longue
long
haut / haute
high
vaste
vast
nouveau / nouvelle
new

Here are some examples with these adjectives:

la belle fillethe beautiful girl

le petit chienthe small dog

la grande maisonthe big house

la nouvelle voiturethe new car

une bonne idéea good idea

un vieux pullan old jumper

le long cheminthe long road

une brève réuniona brief meeting

un joli chapeaua pretty hat

une mauvaise blaguea bad joke

ATTENTION

As stated in Adjectives usually go AFTER nouns (adjective position), these adjectives will be AFTER the noun if :

- used with a long adverb (2 or more syllables) :

un bon vin, mais un vin extrêmement bona good wine, but an extremely good wine

- followed by a "complementary" group introduced by a preposition (à, de, pour, comme,...):

une bonne voiture, mais une voiture bonne pour la cassea good car, but a car only good for scrap
 

These are not the only exceptions placed BEFORE the noun they refer to - see the more advanced lesson: Other adjectives that go BEFORE nouns 

 

See also how beau, vieux and nouveau are different: Beau, nouveau, vieux, fou, mou have two masculine forms and one feminine form and Beau, nouveau, vieux have different plural forms for masculine and feminine (adjectives)

See also Adjectives usually go AFTER nouns (adjective position)

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Examples and resources

"French Grammar: Adjective Positions" by Transparent French
Sur le long chemin,
Tout blanc de neige blanche, 
Un vieux monsieur s'avance, 
On the long path,
All white with white snow, 
An old man advances,
un vaste territoirea vast land
une mauvaise blaguea bad joke
une bonne voiture, mais une voiture bonne pour la cassea good car, but a car only good for scrap
un joli chapeaua pretty hat
un bon vin, mais un vin extrêmement bona good wine, but an extremely good wine
une haute barrièrea high fence
le long cheminthe long road
une brève réuniona brief meeting

beau/belle (beautiful)


la belle fillethe beautiful girl

bon/bonne (good)


une bonne idéea good idea

grand/grande (big)


la grande maisonthe big house

nouveau/nouvelle (new)


la nouvelle voiturethe new car

petit/petite (small)


le petit chienthe small dog

vieux/vieille (old)


un vieux pullan old jumper
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