Color Adjectives Agreements In French

Updated: March 16, 2021 by Mylene in French Grammar

french color adjectives gender and number

When you learn French, the names of colors are one of the first things you study. Correctly making adjectives agree with the noun they modify is not easy.

In this article, you will find out how to make adjectives agree with the noun they qualify:

How does French color adjectives agreement work?

When used as adjectives, colors follow the general French grammar rule of agreeing with the noun they describe. This general rule states that colors in French should agree with different genders (feminine/masculine) and numbers (singular/plural). There are four cases that apply to the agreement of colors in French:

  • Agreement with masculine singular nouns
  • Agreement with masculine plural nouns
  • Agreement with feminine singular nouns
  • Agreement with feminine plural nouns

In these cases, the color name is not derived from the names of other objects, stones, flowers, or fruits.

The adjectives agree in gender and in number.

  • Une feuille verte: a green leaf. The noun leaf is feminine, you need to add an -e at the end of the adjective vert.
  • Des yeux bleus: blue eyes. The noun eyes is the plural form, you need to add -s at the end of the adjective bleus.
  • Des fleurs vertes: green flowers. The noun fleurs is feminine and plural, you need to add -es at the end of the adjective vertes.

Colors with a masculine noun: singular and plural​

The agreement table below summarizes how adjectives of color follow the French grammar rule with masculine singular and masculine plural nouns.

Masculine singularMasculine plural
blancblancs
bleubleus
grisgris
jaunejaunes
marronmarron
noirnoirs
orangeorange
roseroses
rougerouges
vertverts
violetviolets

Colors with a feminine noun: singular and plural​

The worksheet table below summarizes how adjectives of color follow the French grammar agreement rule with feminine singular and feminine plural nouns.

Feminine singularFeminine plural
blancheblanches
bleuebleues
grisegrises
jaunejaunes
marronmarron
noirenoires
orangeorange
roseroses
rougerouges
vertevertes
violetteviolettes

Which color adjectives are invariable in French?

There are some color adjectives in French that don’t follow the general rule of agreement. Such colors are invariable. This means that their spelling never changes. Let’s see some color adjectives that are invariable in French and that are:

  • Derived from nouns
  • Derived from other languages
  • Compound color names:
    • color adjective + color adjective
    • color adjective + another adjective

Adjectives derived from nouns

Most colors from nouns are invariable. That means they will never change the spelling.

For example, the word marron is a noun. But it’s also an adjective. The right spelling is:

  • les yeux marron, the word marron is invariable.

Let’s see other examples:

  • des yeux noisette: hazel eyes, the word noisette is invariable.
  • des fleurs orange: orange flowers, the word orange is invariable.
  • des eaux turquoise: turquoise waters, the word turquoise is invariable.
  • des murs crème: cream walls, the word crème is invariable.

Exception

The following color adjectives are exceptions as they agree in gender and in number:

  • écarlate: scarlet
  • fauve: fawn
  • mauve: mauve
  • rose: pink
  • pourpre: crimson

Examples:

  • des fleurs roses: pink flowers, the noun flowers is feminine and plural, you need to add an -s at the end of the adjective roses.
  • des joues écarlates: scarlet cheeks, the noun cheeks is feminine and plural, you need to add an -s at the end of the adjective écarlates.
  • des crayons mauves: mauve pencils, the noun pencils is plural, you need to add an -s at the end of the adjective mauves.

Color adjectives derived from other languages

The colors do not agree in gender and in number (auburn, kaki).

  • la coloration auburn, there is no -e at the end of the word auburn.
  • des pantalons kaki: khaki pants, the adjective kaki is invariable, there is no -s at the end of the word kaki.

Compounds nouns: color + color

When it comes to compound color adjectives that are composed of two colors, the color adjectives are invariable in French. They don’t agree in number and gender with the noun they describe:

  • des yeux bleu-vert
  • des perles gris-noir

We only put a hyphen when it comes to two different colors.

Compound noun: color + adjective of intensity

The colors made up of two words are always invariable (light, pale, dark,…):

  • des yeux bleu clair: light blue eyes
  • des assiettes rouge foncé: dark red plates
  • des pulls jaune pâle: pale yellow pulls

Colors, meaning, and spelling

The meaning of the sentence can modify the spelling of adjectives.

Example:

  • des drapeaux rouge et bleu: every flag is red and blue.
  • des drapeaux rouges et bleus: some flags are red and other flags are blue.

An image to summarize French color adjectives agreement

french colors agreement diagram
French Color Adjectives Agreement​

Pronouncing colors in French: A video

If you’d like to learn how to pronounce colors in French, I made the video below so that you can watch it and listen to the right pronunciation of colors in French.

YouTube video

Improve your French grammar

I hope that all the information in this lesson and the video to learn French colors can help you to move your French level to the next level faster, to enhance your pronunciation, and to make you a more confident French speaker!

If you’d like to learn about French numbers, check out our blog for more resources to learn French.

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