Complete guide: learn the colors
Hello there! Salut !
I had a class recently and realized that for some "basic" notions of a language, it was close to impossible to find an adult way to introduce and practice the notion. Presently, the colors. You'll easily find songs and poems and games and many others things to teach the colors to children but hardly any content for adults. And, most grown ups I know are unable to properly use these adjectives in a sentence.
- Black = noir-e-s
- White = blanc-he-s
- Grey = gris-e-s
- Blue = bleu-e-s
- Red = rouge-s
- Yellow = jaune-s
- Green = vert-e-s
- Orange = orange
- Purple = violet-te-s
- Pink = rose
- Brown = marron
1) The small black dog. = Le petit chien noir.
Anything striking here?
Yep! The colors always go behind the noun they qualify while most common adjectives keep their position in front.
2) A dark green skirt = une jupe vert foncé
Did you see it?
Well, when you add an adjective to explicit the adjective of color, they both become neutral, that is, they do not take the mark of the feminine and / or plural.
The rule is: in French all the adjectives should take the mark of the gender and number of the noun they qualify. With the colors, this rule is valid as long as:
- the color is not an object on its own (ex: a turquoise, a cherry...)
- the color is defined by only one adjective (ex: une chemise vert clair = 2 words)
So, whenever an actual thing is used as an adjective of color (orange = a fruit, rose = a flower, marron = a fruit, turquoise = a stone ...) their spelling is not modified depending on number / gender.
two red shoes = des chaussures rouges (just a color)
three pink skirts = des jupe rose
Why? Because you're basically saying "of the color of a rose" (I know roses have many colors...)
Let's try this:
- A white pony. (masc. sing)= Un poney blanc.
- A white house. (fem. sing)).= Une maison blanche.
- A brown wall (masc. sing.) = Un mur marron.
- Two brown shoes. (fem. plr.) = Deux chaussures marron.
- A purple t-shirt (masc. sing) = Un t-shirt violet.
- A purple dress (fem sing) = une robe violette.
To sum up:
- French grammar rules can be messed up. It's a fact. Moving on.
- The adjectives of colors are placed behind the noun they qualify, contrary to other adjectives.
- French adjectives take the mark of number and gender as a general rule
- BUT in the case of the adjectives of colors, the rule doesn't apply to any adjective that is also an existing object such as a fruit or stone.
- AND whenever the noun is qualified by a composed adjective such as "bleu ciel" (sky blue", "jaune citron" = lemon yellow"...)
Any suggestion? Leave me a comment below to suggest a post idea, anything at all!