How to Form Irregular French Adverbs of Manner

By Veronique Mazet

Some French adverbs of manner take a route that’s different from the usual one, and some adverbs of manner are completely irregular. Sometimes, an adverb of manner is not formed directly from the feminine of the adjective. Adjectives that end in -e in the feminine fall into this group. The -e changes to before adding the -ment ending of the adverb.

Here are some examples:

  • précis/précise form précisément (precisely)

  • énorme/énorme form énormément (enormously)

  • profond/profonde form profondément (deeply)

Some other adverbs don’t go through the feminine form of the adjective at all. Here’s their route:

  • For adjectives ending in -ant, replace -ant with -amment to form the adverb, like this:

    • courantcouramment (fluently); bruyantbruyamment (loudly)

  • For adjectives ending in -ent, replace -ent with -emment to form the adverb, like this:

    • prudent → prudemment (prudently); évidentévidemment (evidently)

  • For adjectives that end in -i, -é, or -u, add -ment directly, without the -e of the feminine. Such adjectives include:

    • absoluabsolument (absolutely)

    • passionnépassionnément (passionately)

    • polipoliment (politely)

    • spontanéspontanément (spontaneously)

    • vraivraiment (really)

And then come the completely irregular adverbs, those that don’t follow any marked route! You have to memorize them.

Completely Irregular Adverbs
Masculine Adjective Translation Adverb Translation
bon good bien well
bref brief brièvement briefly
gentil kind gentiment kindly
mauvais bad mal badly
meilleur better mieux better
rapide fast vite (although rapidement also exists) quickly