Avoir l'air mal

SeanC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Avoir l'air mal

Can you give me some guidance on when to use mal as an adjective.  I wrote "le reste du casting n'avait pas l'air mauvais". 

I believe it is similar to bon v. bien as an adjective.  I read somewhere that bon is used to describe taste, smell, physical sensation or a person's level or quality  Otherwise, use bien as the adjective.  Is this correct and does it apply to mauvais v. mal?  Thanks.

Asked 4 years ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Sean,

Here it is more to do with the expression ' avoir l'air bien/mal', meaning to look/seem good/bad, or in the negative form 'not to seem bad', in other words, to seem good.

You might use avoir l’air bon/mauvais for a foodstuff -

Ce menu a l’air bon = This menu looks good 

Ce poisson a l’air mauvais = This fish looks bad 

It always amuses me how the expression 'pas mal' is seen as a compliment in French -

Ce film n'a pas l'air mal = This film looks good

Il est pas mal ce livre !This book is good!

Hope this helps! 

SeanC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Thank you.  This is helpful.

Sean asked:View original

Avoir l'air mal

Can you give me some guidance on when to use mal as an adjective.  I wrote "le reste du casting n'avait pas l'air mauvais". 

I believe it is similar to bon v. bien as an adjective.  I read somewhere that bon is used to describe taste, smell, physical sensation or a person's level or quality  Otherwise, use bien as the adjective.  Is this correct and does it apply to mauvais v. mal?  Thanks.

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