How to Form Adverbs in French

Adverbs are words that describe or modify verbs, adjectives or other adverbs. In English, we often form adverbs by adding -ly to an adjective (as in hopeful and hopefully). In French, you need to take into account Masculine and Feminine verbs before you form adverbs.


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    In French, many adverbs are formed by adding -ment to the feminine form of an adjective. Here are some examples:
    • Facile (easy): Facilement (easily)
    • Heureuse (happy): Heureusement (happily)
    • Finale (final): Finalement (finally)
    • Douce (soft, gentle): Doucement (softly, gently)
    • Rapide (rapid): Rapidement (rapidly)
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    Sometimes adverbs are formed by adding -ment to the masculine form of the adjective, when the last letter of the adjective is a vowel (a, e, i, o, or u). Some examples are:
    • Poli (polite): Poliment (politely)
    • Vrai (true): Vraiment (truly)
    • Absolu (absolute): Absolument (absolutely)
    • An exception to this rule is Gai (gay): Gaiement (gaily)
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    If the masculine form of an adjective ends in -ant, this ending changes to -amment to form the adverb:
    • Constant (constant): Constamment (constantly)
    • Courant (fluent): Couramment (fluently)
    • Brillant (brilliant): Brillamment (brilliantly)
    • Puissant (powerful): Puissamment (powerfully).
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    Similarly, masculine adjectives ending in -ent change this ending to -emment to form the adverb:
    • Evident (evident): Evidemment (evidently)
    • Frequent (frequent): Frequemment (frequently)
    • One common exception to this rule is lent (slow): lentement (slowly).
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    Some adverbs do not follow these rules and are irregular in form. Here are some of the most common ones:
    • Bon (good): Bien (well)
    • Meilleur (better): Mieux (better)
    • Mauvais (bad): Mal (badly)
    • Petit (small, little): Peu (little)
    • Gentil (nice, kind): Gentiment (nicely, kindly)
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    In some cases, the adverb is exactly the same as the masculine singular adjective, for example:
    • Fort. Loud, strong (adjective); loudly, strongly (adverb)
    • Dur. Hard (for example, to work hard is travailler dur)
    • Clair. Clear (adjective), clearly (adverb)

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Categories: French