Mastering Grammatical French Agreement: Rules and Examples

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In this article, I am going to explain the Grammatical French Agreement!

Agreement in French, which means making sure words match in gender, number, and more, can be quite challenging. This lesson simplifies the various types of agreement and links to more detailed lessons on each aspect of grammar.

Check also: French Verb Aimer Conjugation, Meaning, Translation, Examples

Types of Grammatical French Agreement

1. Adjectives

French adjectives, whether descriptive, possessive, or negative, must match the gender and number of the nouns they modify.


  • Ces livres sont intéressants. (These books are interesting.)
  • Ma grande maison verte. (My big green house.)
  • Cette robe coûte chère. (This dress is expensive.)
  • Des pommes rouges et juteuses. (Red and juicy apples.)

2. Articles

Definite (le, la, les), indefinite (un, une, des), and partitive (du, de la, des) articles come in masculine, feminine, and plural forms.


  • Le chat, la chienne, les chiots. (The cat, the female dog, the puppies.)
  • Un gâteau, une tarte, des cupcakes. (A cake, a pie, some cupcakes.)
  • Du pain, de la salade, des fruits. (Some bread, some salad, some fruits.)
  • Les vélos, les voitures, les motos. (The bicycles, the cars, the motorcycles.)

3. Nouns

Most French nouns have unique forms for singular and plural, and nouns referring to people often have distinct masculine and feminine forms. Examples:

  • Un oncle, une tante, des cousins, des cousines. (An uncle, an aunt, cousins.)
  • Un élève, une élève, des élèves. (A male student, a female student, students.)
  • Un acteur, une actrice, des acteurs, des actrices. (An actor, an actress, actors, actresses.)
  • Un arbre, un arbuste, des arbres, des arbustes. (A tree, a bush, trees, bushes.)

4. Compound Nouns

Compound nouns have their own specific rules for gender and pluralization. Examples:

  • Des pommes de terre. (Potatoes.)
  • Des chefs-d’œuvre. (Masterpieces.)
  • Des garde-côtes. (Coastguards.)
  • Des arcs-en-ciel. (Rainbows.)

5. Impersonal Pronouns

Certain impersonal pronouns, such as demonstratives and possessives, change to match the gender and number of the nouns they replace. Examples:

  • Celle qui chante est talentueuse. (The one who sings is talented.)
  • Ceux-ci sont en bon état. (These ones are in good condition.)
  • Quelle étoile brille le plus fort ? (Which star shines the brightest?)
  • Lequel préférez-vous ? (Which one do you prefer?)

6. Personal Pronouns

Personal pronouns, including subject, object, and stressed pronouns, vary according to the grammatical person they represent. Examples:

  • Il me regarde. (He is looking at me.)
  • Nous les aimons. (We love them.)
  • Ne t’inquiète pas ! (Don’t worry!)
  • Vous le savez bien. (You know it well.)

7. Verbs (Avoir verbs)

Verbs using “avoir” as the auxiliary verb in compound tenses usually don’t require agreement unless the direct object precedes the conjugated verb. Examples:

  • J’ai mangé les crêpes. (I ate the pancakes.)
  • Les devoirs que j’ai terminés… (The homework I completed…)
  • Ils ont visité Paris. (They visited Paris.)
  • Elles ont lu les livres. (They read the books.)

8. Verbs (Être verbs)

The past participle of verbs conjugated with “être” in compound tenses agrees with the subject’s gender and number. Examples:

  • Elle est allée à la bibliothèque. (She went to the library.)
  • Les élèves sont rentrés fatigués. (The students returned tired.)
  • Le gâteau est prêt à servir. (The cake is ready to be served.)
  • Ils sont nés à la même heure. (They were born at the same time.)

9. Verbs (Passive Voice)

In the passive voice construction with “être” + past participle, the past participle agrees with the subject’s gender and number. Examples:

  • Les lettres ont été écrites. (The letters were written.)
  • La maison sera vendue. (The house will be sold.)
  • Les actrices sont applaudies. (The actresses are applauded.)
  • Les gâteaux sont délicieux. (The cakes are delicious.)

10. Verbs (Pronominal Verbs)

Pronominal verbs, conjugated with “être” in compound tenses, require the past participle to agree with the subject, except when the pronoun is the indirect object. Examples:

  • Elles se sont reposées. (They rested.)
  • Les chiens se sont bien amusés. (The dogs had a good time.)
  • Il s’est coupé le doigt. (He cut his finger.)
  • Elles se sont parlé. (They spoke to each other.)

These various types of agreement are essential for correctly conveying information in French and ensuring that the language’s rules and structures are followed. Understanding and applying these agreements will enhance your ability to communicate effectively in French.


Mastering grammatical French agreement is crucial for precision and clarity in the language. Consistently applying these rules ensures accurate communication and grammatical correctness.

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