French Grammar For Dummies
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French adverbs fit into comparisons as smoothly as English adverbs do. How did you do your work? Better than yesterday? More slowly? More gracefully? These sentences compare how a person does a particular thing, and they use adverbs; that’s what better, slowly, and gracefully are.

An adverb is a word that describes a verb, or how an action is done: well, poorly, gracefully, and so on. Adverbs are therefore invariable, so you don’t have to worry about making them agree in gender and number with anything.

Here are some common Frenchadverbs:

  • bien (well)

  • facilement (easily)

  • gentiment (kindly)

  • longtemps (a long time)

  • mal (poorly/badly)

  • précisément (precisely)

  • prudemment (prudently/cautiously)

  • rarement (rarely)

  • souvent (often)

  • tard (late)

  • vite (quickly)

To make a comparison using adverbs, follow these guidelines:

  • For a comparison of superiority, use this formula:

    • subject + verb + plus + adverb + que + second term of comparison

      For example: Il court plus vite que son adversaire. (He runs faster than his adversary.)

    The comparative of superiority of bien (well) is irregular. Say mieux instead of plus bien. For instance: Elle parle italien mieux que moi. (She speaks Italian better than me.) Also, English uses worse rather than more badly. French simply uses plus mal.

  • For a comparison of inferiority, use this formula:

    • subject + verb + moins + adverb + que + second term of comparison

      For example: Tu conduis moins prudemment que ta mère. (You drive less cautiously than your mother.)

  • For a comparison of equality, use this formula:

    • subject + verb + aussi + adverb + que + second term of comparison

      For example: Vous travaillez aussi bien que les autres. (You work as well as the others.)

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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