31 French adjectives to use instead of 'très'

Posted by Josh on 9th May 2023 in the blog in the category

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‘Très’ is one of the most useful words to know in French, especially if you’re a beginner. The equivalent of the English word 'very', it’s what we call an ‘intensifier’, meaning it can be used before any adjective to intensify it. 'Chaud' (hot) becomes 'très chaud' (very hot), 'froid' (cold) becomes 'très froid' (very cold) – and so on.

But saying ‘très’ all the time can get, well, très répétitif – and that's not to mention that some learners often struggle with pronouncing the word. Fortunately, most common adjectives have synonyms that convey the same meaning with a little emphasis or intensity, eliminating the need for you to resort to ‘très’ every other sentence. So while ‘très chaud’ and ‘très froid’ might get the point across, 'brûlant' and 'gelé' sound much more sophisticated, and indicate a more intimate knowledge of the French language.

NB: You can also use the superlative form of an adjective instead of using 'très', but this is a bit more restrictive. If you were to talk about 'la boisson la plus chaude', rather than 'la boisson très chaude' or 'la boisson brûlante', you would be implying that the drink is not just 'very hot', but is the 'hottest' of a number of different drinks. Also note that while in English we often form a superlative by affixing '-est' onto the end of the adjective, in French it is almost always formed using the adverbs 'plus' or 'moins' – words which, like 'très', can get a little repetitive.

très bon

(as in 'astonishing') – des résultats étonnants

(as in 'marvellous') – une performance merveilleuse

(as in 'incredible') – une expérience incroyable

– une vue imprenable

très mauvais(e)

épouvantable – il a un caractère épouvantable.

eux (affreuse) – une chanson affreuse

très gros(se)

– une énorme guêpe

– une fortune considérable

– un bâtiment gigantesque

très petit(e)

tout petit(e) – un tout petit restaurant

(used to describe a small quantity) – une fraction infime

(this word is more common than it is in English – une fleur minuscule

très drôle

hilarant(e) – un film hilarant

– une conversation désopilante

– un homme marrant

très savoureux (savoureuse)

délicieux (euse)
– de délicieuses friandises

– un gâteau délectable

très utile

indispensable – un outil indispensable

– un manuel incontournable

très heureux (heureuse)

joyeux (joyeuse)
– une occasion joyeuse

ravi (ravie)
– mes enfants sont ravis

très triste

– je suis affligé

– le jeune homme était abattu

très calme

– une expression sereine

– une rivière tranquille

très fâché(e)

en colère
– un personnage en colère.

furieux (furieuse)
– Maman sera furieuse

très chaud(e)

– le soleil brûlant

(usually referring to weather) – une journée caniculaire

très froid(e)

– un lac gelé

– un vent glacial

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