French Grammar For Dummies
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When you start a comparison in French, you can say that someone is more or less of a quality, using être (to be) and an adjective. When you describe something as more beautiful, or as big, or less expensive than another thing, you’re comparing qualities. The words beautiful, big, and expensive are adjectives that express the quality.

Fundamental French comparisons with adjectives

In French, an adjective must agree in gender and number with the noun it describes. That rule applies to adjectives in a comparison, as you probably assumed. But don’t get carried away: Only the adjective varies, not the comparative words plus, moins, and aussi.

To make a comparison that includes an adjective, follow these easy steps:

  1. Start with subject + a conjugation of être (to be) + plus/moins/aussi + adjective that matches the subject.

    For example: il est plus grand (he is taller). If you need help conjugating être in the present tense.

  2. Add que + the original noun that you’re comparing against.

    For example: Il est plus grand que son frère. (He is taller than his brother.)

Here are more examples that show the variations of the adjectives:

Ce sac est plus grand qu’une valise! (This bag is larger than a suitcase!)
Cette maison est plus grande que notre maison. (This house is bigger than our house.)
Ces sacs sont plus grands que des valises! (These bags are larger than suitcases!)
Ces maisons sont plus grandes que les maisons du quartier. (These houses are bigger than the houses in the neighborhood.)

When you want to use more than one adjective in the comparison, repeat the comparative word plus, moins, or aussi before each adjective, like this:

Pierre est aussi intelligent et aussi charmant que son frère. (Pierre is as intelligent and charming as his brother.)
Mes nouvelles chaussures sont moins jolies et moins confortables que mes vieilles chaussures. (My new shoes are less pretty and less comfortable than my old ones.)

Make a French comparison from good to better

Like its English equivalent good, the adjective bon has an irregular form in the comparative of superiority: meilleur (better). This word replaces the phrase plus bon (more good). Don’t use plus and meilleur in the same sentence! Here are some examples:

Cette tarte est meilleure que l’autre. (This pie is better than that other one.)
Les gâteaux sont meilleurs que le pain. (Cakes are better than bread.)

Meilleur is still an adjective and, as such, it should match the noun it describes. Here are the four forms of meilleur:

  • Masculine singular: meilleur

  • Feminine singular: meilleure

  • Masculine plural: meilleurs

  • Feminine plural: meilleures

French adjectives that don’t need plus, moins, or aussi

Some adjectives, like similar, imply a comparison all to themselves; they don’t need words like plus, moins, and aussi. You still start with a subject and a conjugated verb, followed by the adjective of your choice; after them, the second element of the comparison is introduced by à or de instead of que. Following is a list of some common adjectives of this type:

  • supérieur à (superior to)

  • inférieur à (inferior to)

  • identique à (identical to)

  • semblable à (similar to)

  • pareil à (same as)

  • différent de (different from)

Don’t forget to make these adjectives agree in number and gender. For instance, pareil changes to pareille in the feminine singular, supérieur changes to supérieure, inférieur changes to inférieure, and différent switches to différente.

And here they are in some examples:

Ton résultat est différent de mon résultat. (Your result is different from my result.)
Cette copie est identique à la photo originale. (This copy is identical to the original photo.)

About This Article

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About the book author:

Véronique Mazet has a doctorate in French from the University of Texas at Austin and is the author of two successful grammar books. She currently teaches French at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas.

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