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Lesson Transcript

Virginie:Bon jour Virginie! Welcome to this new Absolute Beginner lesson.
Eric: Hello, everyone! Eric here! Absolute Beginner Season 1, Lesson 17 - How to Describe Your Significant Other in French.
Virginie: How are you, Eric?
Eric: Very good. How are you?
Virginie: I'm good. Thank you. So what are we going to see in this lesson?
Eric: In this lesson you're going to learn about adjectives that are placed before the noun in French.
Virginie: And our dialogue is about…
Eric: Well, it looks like our dialogue is about Rob asking Giulia about her boyfriend in Italy whose name is Danilo.
Virginie: Danilo. Sounds very Italian. Before we listen to the dialogue, we just want to tell you guys that if you feel the need or the urge to comment on the lessons, please feel free to do it.
Eric: You know, there's a whole community out there and we want to, you know, you may have a question that somebody else will be able to answer or you may just, you know, want to compliment one of us.
Virginie: Or maybe insult one of us. You'll never know but in any case, we want to hear from you guys. That's important. Why don't we have a listen to this conversation.

Lesson conversation

Rob: Danilo, il est comment?
Giulia: C’est un grand homme.
Rob: C’est un bel homme?
Giulia: Bien sûr ! C’est aussi un bon cuisinier.
Rob: Miam. C’est un jeune homme?
Giulia: Oui !
Rob: Et il est loin.
Giulia: (Soupir).
Eric: One more time with the translation.
Rob: Danilo, il est comment?
Eric: What is Danilo like?
Giulia: C’est un grand homme.
Virginie: He's a tall man.
Rob: C’est un bel homme?
Eric: Is he a handsome man?
Giulia: Bien sûr! C’est aussi un bon cuisinier.
Virginie: Of course! He's also a good cook.
Rob: Miam. C’est un jeune homme?
Eric: Yummy. Is he a young man?
Giulia: Oui !
Virginie: Yes!
Rob: Et il est loin.
Virginie: And he's far away.
Giulia: (Soupir).
Virginie: (Sigh)
Virginie: So we have Guilia in France and we have Danilo in Italy.
Eric: That is, yes. Have you ever have a long-distance relationship?
Virginie: Well, that happens a lot actually in Europe.
Eric: Because of the EU.
Virginie: Right. We opened all the borders and so people move around and you don't get to be with your boyfriend or girlfriend anymore. Isn't that sad?
Eric: Did anyone think of that as a downside to the EU? I mean, come on.
Virginie: No, actually, it's a true benefit that anyone coming from an EU country can work and live anywhere in Europe.
Eric: That is a very huge advantage. And Virginie, I think you were telling me before this all began in the '90s with the Shengen Agreement, right.
Virginie: Yes, it was signed in Amsterdam in '97.
Eric: I see.
Virginie: And that's when they opened all the borders.
Eric: So Virginie, do you think this has changed Europe forever?
Virginie: Yes. You know, there was another step ahead to build a big Europe. Ever since the borders are opened and ever since the EU become concrete, students exchanges have become really, really popular.
Eric: And this program is called Erasmus, right or ""Erasmus.""
Virginie: One of them is called Erasmus just like the philosopher Erasmus. And so you got o a country for a semester or two semesters, a European country obviously and you get to stay there, study there and then you come back home.
Eric: There was a movie L'Auberge Espagnole, the Spanish Inn that was sort of about that, right?
Virginie: That was about that. Again, it's L'Auberge Espagnole. You guys should definitely check it out.
Eric: Highly recommended. It's a good movie. L'Auberge Espagnole is about this French guy who goes to Barcelona and he is, you know, has these roommates from every different country in Europe.
Virginie: And he is studying in the University of Barcelona, and he is making a lot of friends. He's partying all the time and it's very funny. It portrays how it is to meet all these people from all these countries and how to party with them.
Eric: Which is the most important thing.
Virginie: Exactly, especially when you are student. Okay, let's talk about the vocabulary.
Virginie: Un home.
Eric: A man.
Virginie: Un home, un home.
Eric: Okay.
Virginie: Grand.
Eric: Masculine.
Virginie: Grande.
Eric: Feminine.
Eric: Big, large, or tall.
Virginie: Grand(e), grand(e).
Eric: Okay.
Virginie: Beau, bel (before vowel).
Eric: Beautiful or handsome.
Virginie: Beau, bel, beau, bel.
Eric: Okay, next.
Virginie: Bon.
Eric: Masculine.
Virginie: Bonne.
Eric: Feminine.
Eric: Good.
Virginie: Bon(ne), bon(ne).
Eric: Then.
Virginie: Jeune.
Eric: Young.
Virginie: Jeune, jeune.
Eric: Okay.
Virginie: Aussi.
Eric: Too, also.
Virginie: Aussi, aussi. Un cuisinier.
Eric: Masculine.
Virginie: Une cuisinière.
Eric: Feminine. A cook.
Virginie: Un cuisinier, une cuisinière, un cuisinier, une cuisinière.
Virginie: All right. So Guilia is making a full description of her boyfriend.
Eric: That's right, yeah. She's giving a description of what he looks like, how he is, what he likes to do.
Virginie: So our word here is ""beau and bel."" That's the same word and it's the masculine adjective for handsome. The only difference is that whenever ""beau"" is placed before a noun that starts with vowel, it comes ""bel"" For example, in our dialogue, ""Est un bel homme.""
Eric: And there is other expression that you often hear, ""Un beau gosse.""
Virginie: Un beau goss, and that's true and then he is hot. So just remember, ""beau"" and ""bel"" and then ""beau gosse.""
Eric: Exactly. And our next word is ""aussi"" which is also or too.
Virginie: In the dialogue, Guilia says, ""C'est aussi un bon cuisinier."" And ""aussi"" is placed right after the verb. ""C'est aussi un bon cuisinier,"" he is also a good cook.
Eric: C'est aussi.
Virginie: She could have said, ""C'est un bon cuisinier, aussi.""
Eric: So a little flexible on where you've placed that.
Virginie: It's like in English when you say, ""He's a good cook, too.""
Eric: And we also have the word ""Un cuisinier or une cuisiniere"" a cook.
Virginie: Exactly. And I think that's a new profession in our vocabulary. So again, it's ""un cuisinier and une cuisiniere.""
Eric: And the verb in French to cook is…
Virginie: Cuisinie, which sounds almost the same, right?
Eric: Exactly. A way you can tell about the gender of the profession is by its ending. So if it ends with ""er"" it's going to be masculine. If it ends with ""-ère"" it's going to be feminine.
Virginie: Just like ""Un cuisinier or une cuisiniere."" Okay. Grammar now.

Lesson focus

Eric: The focus of this lesson in terms of the grammar is that you can have an adjective placed before the noun.
Virginie: So there are two types of adjectives in French. There are those who are placed before the noun and those who are placed after the noun. And today, we're going to see those who are placed before the noun. Okay, let's take a look at our dialogue and find some examples. What do they say?
Eric: Well, for example they say, ""C'est un grand homme.""
Virginie: That means, ""He's a tall man."" So pretty straightforward, just like in English, right? The adjective, ""grand"" is placed before the noun, ""grand homme."" What other adjective do we have?
Eric: Bel.
Virginie: Yes, ""C'est un bel homme.""
Eric: Again, ""bel,"" the adjective comes before the noun.
Virginie: And that's handsome. We have, ""C'est un bon cuisinier.""
Eric: Again, it's a good cook.
Virginie: And here, the adjective is ""bon"" which means ""good.""
Eric: To sort of distinguish between the adjectives that are going to come before the noun and those that would come afterwards, often the ones that will before will refer either to beauty.
Virginie: Yes, just like ""bel"" in the dialogue.
Eric: ""Joli,"" pretty or adjectives that also refer to age. So in the dialogue we have, ""jeune.""
Virginie: That's young.
Eric: And we could also say, viex.
Virginie: Old.
Eric: Other adjectives that come before the noun refer to good or bad.
Virginie: Which is very straightforward, bonne or bon is good and mauvais is bad.
Eric: And the last category are adjectives that refer to size. So in the dialogue we have, ""grand"" large or tall, or we could say just as well, ""petit.""
Virginie: ""Petit"" is short. So it's very easy. Actually, a good tip to remember which adjectives are going to be placed before the noun is…
Eric: For the acronym BAGS, beauty, age, good and size.
Virginie: That's just a nice way of remembering most of them.
Eric: Okay. Now just a few examples.
Virginie: Let's talk about age and the adjective ""juene."" How would say, ""She's a young girl?""
Eric: C'est une jeune fille.
Virginia: C'est une jeune fille. Again, juene is before fille It's a young girl, C'est une jeune fille. What about ""mauvais,"" the opposite of ""good.""
Eric: C'est une mauvaise fille.
Virginia: Uh-huh. She's a bad girl.
Eric: And obviously, the word ""mauvais"" will be for masculine and ""mauvaise"" for feminine.


Virginie: Exactly. All right. Okay, I think we are all good for today.
Eric: Great. Thank you very much for listening. We'll see you soon. Take care.
Virginie: Bye-bye. Au revoir.


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Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 06:30 PM
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If you had to describe your significant other, which adjectives would you use? If you tell us in English, we'll come up with the French for you! Mine is merveilleux! Mine is wonderful!

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Monday at 09:23 PM
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Bonjour Special,

Que de compliments, il doit être content !

Bonne journée,


Team FrenchPod101.com

Saturday at 05:21 AM
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Bonsoir à Tous

Mon homme est Beau, il est charmant et grand

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Friday at 07:55 PM
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Bonjour Bhrigu,

My pleasure, I'm glad I could help ;-).

Bonne journée,


Team FrenchPod101.com

Friday at 05:56 AM
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Merçi, Marion! Got it.

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 07:40 PM
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Bonjour Emily et Bhrigu,

Thank you both for your comments! No, here "c'est" is actually mandatory, the sentence wouldn't work with "elle".

Just to be clear, I'm talking about the sentence "C'est une mauvaise fille", which is the last one in the transcript about a girl.

Here, we need "c'est" because the adjective is directly followed by a noun, "fille". If the sentence was just "She's bad", ie. "Elle est mauvaise", we could use "elle" as the adjective would be alone.


C'est + adjective & noun

Il/Elle est + adjective

Hope this helps! :-)

Bonne journée,


Team FrenchPod101.com

Tuesday at 03:59 AM
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Hello Eric and Virginie,

Love the learning so far. Just a quick one, I have the same doubt as Emily's in the comments section- Would 'elle' be more apt instead of 'cest'?


Monday at 07:11 AM
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Hi There!

at the end of the lesson transcript, you are describing the girl. I am confused as to why you are saying "C'EST" instead of ELLE?

can you do both? when would you use which one?


FrenchPod101.com Verified
Monday at 09:01 PM
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Bonjour Jesus & Ana,

It's always difficult to know where to put the adjective, but you'll definitely get the hang of it with some practice!

Bonne journée,


Team FrenchPod101.com

Jesus & Ana
Saturday at 05:04 AM
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Excellent lesson. we learned a lot about the adjective , and had that confusion on their placement before and after the noun.

FrenchPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 03:24 PM
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Bonjour Clément,

Ça, c'est un secret !

Bonne journée,


Team FrenchPod101