Colour descriptions change according to gender and number (adjectives)

French adjectives of simple colours agree in gender and number with the noun they modify.

Here is the full agreement table:

Masculine Singular Feminine Singular Masculine Plural Feminine Plural English
rouge rouge rouges rouges red
jaune jaune jaunes jaunes yellow
rose rose roses roses pink
bleu bleue bleus bleues blue
vert verte verts vertes green
gris grise gris grises grey
noir noire noirs noires black
violet violette violets violettes purple
blanc blanche blancs blanches white
brun brune bruns brunes dark brown
orange orange
orange
orange
orange
marron
marron
 marron
marron
brown

Note that colours ending in mute -e, such as jaune (yellow)rose (pink)rouge (red) and orange remain the same in the feminine.


ATTENTION: 

J'ai deux chiens marron et une souris marron.
I've got two brown dogs and one brown mouse.

Elle a un sac orange et deux écharpes orange.
She has an orange bag and two orange scarves.

Colours marron (brown/chestnut) and orange (orange) never change in any form, plural and/or feminine.

  

Case of brun

Daniel a les yeux marron et les cheveux bruns.
Daniel has brown eyes and brown hair.

The colour brun is defined as a dark red going on black (Dictionnaire de l'Académie française).
In colloquial French, brun will mostly be used to describe hair, skin (as in tanned skin), or fur.
In other cases, we will use marron

Here are examples to listen to:

J'ai un stylo bleu et une chemise bleue.
I've got a blue pen and a blue shirt.

Avec deux crayons violets elle dessine une robe violette.
With two purple pencils she draws a purple dress.

Sur un arbre vert grimpe une souris verte.
On a green tree climbs a green mouse.

Je dessine un nuage rose et une panthère rose.
I'm drawing a pink cloud and a pink panther.

Je vois un soleil jaune et une fleur jaune.
I see a yellow sun and a yellow flower.

Avec un drap blanc je fais deux jupes blanches.
With a white sheet I make two white skirts.

Elle porte un chapeau rouge et deux boucles d'oreille rouges.
She's wearing a red hat and two red earrings.

Il y a un chat noir sur une chaise noire.
There is a black cat on a black chair.

Il y a un rat gris et une souris grise.
There is a grey rat and a grey mouse.

See also Adjectives usually go AFTER nouns (adjective position)

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Il y a un rat gris et une souris grise.
There is a grey rat and a grey mouse.


Elle a un sac orange et deux écharpes orange.
She has an orange bag and two orange scarves.



Avec deux crayons violets elle dessine une robe violette.
With two purple pencils she draws a purple dress.


Sur un arbre vert grimpe une souris verte.
On a green tree climbs a green mouse.


Je dessine un nuage rose et une panthère rose.
I'm drawing a pink cloud and a pink panther.


Je vois un soleil jaune et une fleur jaune.
I see a yellow sun and a yellow flower.


J'ai deux chiens marron et une souris marron.
I've got two brown dogs and one brown mouse.


Elle porte un chapeau rouge et deux boucles d'oreille rouges.
She's wearing a red hat and two red earrings.


J'ai un stylo bleu et une chemise bleue.
I've got a blue pen and a blue shirt.


Avec un drap blanc je fais deux jupes blanches.
With a white sheet I make two white skirts.


Il y a un chat noir sur une chaise noire.
There is a black cat on a black chair.


Daniel a les yeux marron et les cheveux bruns.
Daniel has brown eyes and brown hair.


Q&A Forum 9 questions, 21 answers

WandaA1Kwiziq community member

The rule that standalone adjectives after c'est must be in the masculine

Thinking that I understood the rule,I stupidly wrote "Oui c'est bon,"  and of course got it wrong. My natural inclination was to put "oui, c'est bonne." But, I veered because of the rule. Obviously, I do not understand the rule. Would you please explain it more clearly? :o)

Asked 2 weeks ago
LauraKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Bonjour Wanda, you understood the rule: adjectives are *always* invariable after c'est. The problem is that you misread your answer results, please take another look at them: the green check is next to the correct answer, while the red x is next to your incorrect answer.

The rule that standalone adjectives after c'est must be in the masculine

Thinking that I understood the rule,I stupidly wrote "Oui c'est bon,"  and of course got it wrong. My natural inclination was to put "oui, c'est bonne." But, I veered because of the rule. Obviously, I do not understand the rule. Would you please explain it more clearly? :o)

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BrendaB1Kwiziq community member

We are given a rule that brun is used for skin, hair, and fur. Yet example sentence uses ‘marron’ for dog and mouse. Pls advise. Merci!

Asked 6 months ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Brenda,

I think the examples you refer to were to illustrate how 'marron' doesn't change in gender or number as other colour adjectives.

As you will know by now, there are exceptions to all rules in French, personally, I have never heard of brun being used for dogs or mice...

Hope this helps!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Maybe this helps: https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-French-for-brown-Brun-ou-marron

We are given a rule that brun is used for skin, hair, and fur. Yet example sentence uses ‘marron’ for dog and mouse. Pls advise. Merci!

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JialiA2Kwiziq community member

For colours such as 'bleu-vert', how would you agree them?

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Jiali,

Just to add to what Chris said, when a colour is followed by a noun or an adjective the same rule applies, but without the hyphen- 

e.g.

Des blousons bleu marine Navy blue jackets

Des cheveux châtain clair = Light brown hair

Hope this helps!

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor

Hi Jiali,

if you use a color composed of two adjectives (such as in the example you give, or, e.g., bleu-clair, brun-foncé, etc.) neither of them changes. So you get off free!

Des chaussures bleu-vert. -- Blue-green shoes (no arguing about taste, please;).

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

For colours such as 'bleu-vert', how would you agree them?

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PeterA1Kwiziq community member

marron has no feminine form nor plural form ?

Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer
Hi Peter,

Correct observation, "marron" is immutable. Those colors which effectively are the name of other objects don't change. "Orange" is another example. There is a dedicated lesson for this.

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

marron has no feminine form nor plural form ?

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AdamA1Kwiziq community member

One tiny English typo: "I've got two brown dogs and one brown mice" should be "...one brown mouse".

Asked 1 year ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Adam ! Oops! Merci beaucoup ! J'ai maintenant corrigé cet exemple :) Bonne journée !

One tiny English typo: "I've got two brown dogs and one brown mice" should be "...one brown mouse".

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StuartB1Kwiziq community member

Suzanne adore les vêtements oranges.

There is a question about this and my response (above) was incorrect. Is les vêtements an exception to adding the ‘s’ at the end to orange? I couldn’t see the exception in the discussion. Thanks.
Asked 1 year ago
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

Bonjour Stuart,

Here is an example from the lesson:

Elle a un sac orange et deux écharpes orange. --> She has an orange bag and two orange scarves.
As can be noticed in the example from the lesson Aurélie has given us, in plural phrases «orange» does NOT change form to agree in quantity, i.e. un sac orange and deux écharpes orange.

If one returns to the lesson and reviews the chart, the color «marron» is another case in point where the spelling does NOT change to agree in quantity. 

ChrisC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor Correct answer

There are a number of exceptions to agreeing colors with the noun they refer to.
The most notable one is that colors with the names of real objects (as, e.g., orange, marron etc.) remain unchanged.

Therefore the exception lies not with vêtements but with orange. -- Chris.

StuartB1Kwiziq community member
Sorry - the exception is the colour orange, not ‘les vêtements’.
AurélieKwiziq team member

Bonjour Stuart !

Colours orange and marron are indeed specific cases, which are explained in more detail in the following lesson: 

https://kwiziq.learnfrenchwithalexa.com/revision/grammar/compound-colour-names-and-colour-names-derived-from-things-are-invariable

However, I do agree that this particularity needed to be highlighted more clearly in the lesson, and thanks to your feedback, I've now updated the lesson to make it clearer :)

Bonne journée !

Suzanne adore les vêtements oranges.

There is a question about this and my response (above) was incorrect. Is les vêtements an exception to adding the ‘s’ at the end to orange? I couldn’t see the exception in the discussion. Thanks.

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LorenA1Kwiziq community member

Why isn't the complete table of adjective endings visible? The Fem plural is cut off?

Asked 2 years ago
RonC1 Kwiziq Q&A super contributor
Bonsoir Loren, The complete table is visible on my PC. Perhaps one of the IT team members for Kwiziq can weigh-in on this. Bonne chance.
LorenA1Kwiziq community member
Merci, Ron. Yes. I hope they will. Doesn't make much sense to have that table there unless it can be seen. Amicalement, Loren
LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour Loren, Could you please email us a screenshot and info about your device / browser? info@kwiziq.com
GioA2Kwiziq community member
I am having the same problem. Also, I am using a laptop. I can send you a screen shot as well if need be
LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour Gio - Yes please, that would be very helpful.
GioA1Kwiziq community member
Hi. I sent an email. Hopefully it helps.
AnettaA1Kwiziq community member
Same issue over here.

Why isn't the complete table of adjective endings visible? The Fem plural is cut off?

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JenniferC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

When do you use brun and when marron?

Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Jennifer ! Thanks for that question: I've now added an explanatory section on this aspect in the core lesson. Please have a look, and let me know if that's helpful! Merci et à bientôt !
LisaC1Kwiziq community member
'Brun' seems to be much more common than 'Marron' in Canadian usage.

When do you use brun and when marron?

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RadhikaB2Kwiziq community member

Can you explain how the same adjective is used in the before and also after the noun

for example: Elle a les cheveux longs et blonds becomes Elle a de long cheveux blonds.
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member

Bonjour Radhika !

That's a good question!
It depends which rule you follow regarding adjectives:

- if you consider the adjectives one by one (longs/blonds), therefore you respect their established position: long is always before the noun, and blond after, hence Elle a de longs cheveux blonds.

- if you link these two adjectives with et (and), therefore the rule is to place them after the noun, hence Elle a les cheveux longs et blonds.

In French you can do either, as long as you stay coherent with the rules.

I hope that's helpful!

Can you explain how the same adjective is used in the before and also after the noun

for example: Elle a les cheveux longs et blonds becomes Elle a de long cheveux blonds.

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