Indefinite Adjectives

The most commonly used indefinite adjectives are shown in the following list.

Aucun(e)

Aucun(e) is used only in the singular and has a masculine and feminine singular form. It is used with a noun to emphasize a negative:

  • Il a travaillé sans aucun effort. (He worked without any effort.)
  • Elle a accepté l'invitation sans aucune hésitation. (She accepted the invitation without any hesitation.)
  • Il n'y a aucun problème. (There is no problem.)

Autre(s)

Unlike most French adjectives, autre comes before the noun it describes, and may or may not be used with a definite or indefinite article:

  • Donnez‐moi une autre tranche de gâteau, s'il vous plaît. (Give me another piece of cake, please.)
  • Ça c'est autre chose. (That's another story.)

The plural of un autre is always d'autres:

  • Il a un problème. Moi, j'ai d'autres problèmes. (He has a problem. Me, I have other problems.)

In spoken French, autre may be used to reinforce the subject pronouns nous and vous:

  • Nous autres, nous partirons. (As for us, we'll leave.)

Note: The word encore may be used before un(e) to express “an additional”:

  • Apportez‐moi encore une tasse de café, s'il vous plaît. (Please bring me another cup of coffee.)

Certain(e)(s)

The indefinite article un(e) is used when certain is singular. No article is required in the plural:

  • Elle a un certain sourire. (She has a certain smile.)
  • Une certaine Mme. Dupont vous attend. (A certain Mrs. Dupont is waiting for you.)
  • Certains tableaux dans ce musée sont très beaux. (Certain pictures in that museum are very pretty.)
  • Certaines choses sont difficiles à comprendre. (Certain things are difficult to understand.)

Chaque

The invariable adjective chaque is used only in the singular:

  • Chaque région française a sa propre spécialité. (Each French region has its own specialty.)

Différent(e)(s), divers(e)(s) and maint(e)(s)  

Divers(e)(s) and maint(e)(s) generally stand alone, while différent(e)(s) may be preceded by a preposition. The indefinite adjectives différent(e)(s) and divers(e)(es) are only used in the plural. Maint(e)(s), which is generally used in literary works and not in everyday conversation, may be used in the singular but is usually used in the plural.

  • Diverses personnes m'ont parlé du problème. (Various people told me about the problem.)
  • Il s'est trompé à différentes reprises. (He made a mistake on several different occasions.)
  • Je vous en ai déjà parlé maintes fois. (I have already spoken to you about it many times.)
  • Il m'a donné maints exemples. (He gave me many examples.)

Le (la) (les) même(s)

Before a noun, le (la) (les) même(s) means “the same.” After a noun, le (la) (les) même(s) means “itself,” “very,” or “even” and can also refer to a quality that is innate. After a pronoun, même is used without a definite article (le, la, les) and is used to identity the person.

  • Nous portons les mêmes chaussures. (We're wearing the same shoes.)
  • C'est toujours la même chose. (It's always the same thing.)
  • Il est la générosité même. (He is generosity itself.)
  • Ses parents mêmes ne la croient pas. (Even her parents don't believe her.)
  • J'ai fait le travail moi‐même. (I did the work myself.)

N'importe

  • N'importe can be followed by quel(le)(s) (no matter which) to show that something doesn't matter:
  • Téléphone‐moi à n'importe quelle heure. (Call me at any time.)
  • N'importe quel docteur te dira la même chose. (Any doctor will tell you the same thing.)

Plusiers

Plusieurs is invariable and is always plural:

  • Il a plusieurs amis. (He has several friends.)

Quelconque(s)

Quelconque(s) is an adjective that usually follows the noun. Quelconque has more or less the same meaning as n'importe quel(le)(s) but with some emphasis on the idea of “any sort” or “any kind”: When quelconque precedes the noun, it has a negative connotation.

  • Choisis un stylo quelconque. (Choose any pen.)
  • Avez‐vous une idée quelconque de l'endroit où ça se trouve? (Do you have any idea where it may be?)

Quelque(s)

In the singular, quelque means “some” or “a little” and is mainly found in literary texts. In the plural, it may have any of the meanings attributed to the singular and may also mean “a small number of.”

  • J'habite à quelque distance d'ici. (I live some distance from here.)
  • Elle ne peut rester que quelques instants. (She can only stay a few minutes.)

Quelque can be used as an invariable adverb before a number, and means “about”:

  • Il est âgé de quelque vingt ans. (He is about 20 years old.)

Tel(le)(s)

  • Tel(le)(s) means “like” or “such.” Tel(le)(s) is replaced by si in expressions containing an adjective:
  • Tel père, tel fils. (Like father, like son.)
  • Je n'ai jamais vu un tel film. (I never saw such a film.)
  • Il faut parler français tel que les Français le parlent. (You have to speak French as the French do.)
  • As‐tu jamais lu un si beau livre? (Have you ever read such a beautiful book?)

Tout(e)(s) and tous

In the singular, when tout is used without an article, it means “each,” “every,” or “any” and is the equivalent of n'importe quel. When tout is followed by an article, it means “the whole” or “the entire.” In certain expressions, tout means “only”:

  • Nous cherchons tout indice qui pourrait nous être utile. (We are looking for any clue that might be useful.)
  • Il a mangé tout le gâteau! (He ate the whole cake!)
  • Pour toute réponse, elle pleurait. (Her only answer was to cry.)

In the plural, tous and toutes mean “all” or “every”:

  • Je vais en ville tous les jours. (I go to the city every day.)
  • Toutes les places sont occupées. (All the seats are taken.)

Tout can be used as an adverb meaning “completely” or “entirely.” Tout (adverb) is invariable in the following circumstances:

When followed by a masculine adjective or past participle:

  • Jean et Paul sont tout contents d'avoir terminé leurs études. (Jean and Paul are very happy to have finished their studies.)
  • Ils ont tout compris. (They understood everything.)

Before a feminine adjective or past participle beginning with a vowel or silent unaspirated h (no air escapes upon pronunciation):

  • Elle est tout heureuse. (She is very [extremely] happy.)
  • Elle a tout entendu. (She heard everything.)

When followed by another adverb:

  • Continuez tout droit. (Continue to go completely straight.)

Tout (adverb) must agree in gender and number with a feminine adjective beginning with a consonant or an aspirate h (in which air escapes upon pronunciation):
  • Toute petite, elle aimait la montagne. (As a small child, she loved the mountains.)