Negative Personality Traits in French

The article includes 3 parts with pictures and audio files.

There are notes in every part, where I elaborate on grammatical aspects.

Part 1



In these examples, most adjectives have a masculine- and a feminine version.

I have highlighted the difference in red text.

There is also a difference in pronunciation (you can listen to the audiofile :-)).

In most cases, the pronunciation does not change in plural. But, we need to add an extra S.

I will go through them one by one. You can just scroll past this part if you’re already familiar with the process.

  • Ils sont amers*: They are bitter.

We’ll use Ils if the group includes at least on man.

  • Elles sont amères*: They are bitter.

We’ll use elles if the group includes only women.

  • Ils sont négligents: They are negligent.
  • Elles sont négligentes: They are negligent.

Let’s change the pronouns to les hommes and les femmes:

  • Les hommes sont énervants: The men are annoying.
  • Les femmes sont énervantes: The women are annoying.

We can also change the pronouns to les étudiants (masculine plural) and les étudiantes (feminine plural):

  • Les étudiants sont superficiels: The students are shallow.
  • Les étudiantes sont superficielles: The students are shallow.

(I have added an extra audiofile to show you the difference between les étudiants and les étudiantes. There is a difference in pronunciation, and it can be important to be able to identify the difference in order to understand the context.

We can also change the pronouns to les garçons and les filles:

  • Les garçons sont méchants: They boys are mean.
  • Les filles sont méchantes: The girls are mean.

In these examples, we have only added one latter to express the plural form. Quite tedious, but easy to remember :-).

Let’s move on to part 2:

Part 2


  • Ils sont hostiles: They are hostile.
  • Elles sont hostiles: They are hostile.

More of the same (we add an s). However, the adjective hostile remains the same, regardless of gender. Also, the pronunciation is the same.

  • Les hommes sont rancuniers: The men are resentful.
  • Les femmes sont rancunières: The women are resentful.

We add an s to the plural form.

However, the pronunciation is not the same in the singular form. You can listen to the audio file to learn the difference.

  • Les garçons sont téméraires: The boys are reckless.
  • Les filles sont téméraires: The girls are reckless.

There is no difference in pronunciation. We just add an s in the plural form.

  • Ils sont incompétents: They are incompetent.
  • Elles sont incompétentes: They are incompetent.

There is a difference in pronunciation in the singular form.

The difference remains in the plural form, but we don’t change the pronunciation. Thus, we can only see the difference in writing.

  • Les hommes sont puérils: The men are childish.
  • Les femmes sont puériles: The women are childish.

We add an extra e in the feminine form. However, the pronunciation does not change.

  • Ils sont égocentriques: They are egocentric.
  • Elles sont égocentriques: They are egocentric.

No difference in pronunciation.

We just add an s in the plural form. And by now, I think you know that the s is silent :-).

Do you find the grammar hard to understand? I’ve written an article about adjectives, gender and conjugation.

Part 3


  • Ils sont ingrats: They are ungrateful.
  • Elles sont ingrates: They are ungrateful.

Both these adjectives can be difficult to pronounce, depending on your mother tongue. There is also a big difference in pronunciation between the masculine- and feminine version in singular.

You can listen to the audio file if you need to practice.

Advice: You should practice pronunciation often. You have probably already heard that children can learn languages easier than adults? This might be true.

However, you should keep in mind that children practice the pronunciation of new words all the time. They tend to repeat certain words many, many times just in one day.

  • Ils sont paresseux: They are lazy.
  • Elles sont paresseuses: They are lazy.

We will only add an s to the feminine version. The masculine version ends with an x in singular. We will not add anything to express the plural form.

  • Ils sont effrayants: They are scary.
  • Elles sont effrayantes: They are scary.

We’ll add an s to both versions. There is a difference in pronunciation in the singular- and plural form. But as usual, the plural form will be pronounced the same, even if there’s an extra s.

  • Ils sont antipathiques: They are unpleasent.
  • Elles sont antipathiques: They are unpleasent.

We’ll add an s to both versions. They are pronounced the same, both in the singular- and in the plural version. One could think that it should be this easy all the time :-).

The last two adjectives follow the same pattern. Let’s change the pronouns again:

  • Les garçons sont crédules: The boys are gullible.
  • Les filles sont crédules: The girls are gullible.


  • Les hommes sont cyniques: The men are cynical.
  • Les femmes sont cyniques: The women are cynical.



I have already mentioned that énérvant means irritating.

There is another adjective that you can use to describe someone as irritating:

  • Il est penible: He is irritating.
  • Elle est penible: She is irritating.

They are pronounced in the same way :-).

If we really dislike someone we could say that the person is maléfique – evil (You should obviously be careful with this one.):

  • Il est maléfique: He is evil
  • Elle est maléfique: She is evil

These adjectives are also pronounced in the same way, and you only have to add an s to create the plural form.

How do you say that someone is fake in French? You could for instance say:

  • Tu es un faux: You are false.

You could also say:

  • Tu es bidon: You’re a fraud.

And like I mentioned before, you should be careful with this one. I don’t want to teach foul language. However, learning a language also means understanding some adjectives and nouns that are inappropriate.



Let’s add some “negative” feelings too:

  • Il est contrarié: He is upset.
  • Elle est contrariée : She is upset.
  • Il est triste: He is sad.
  • Elle est triste: She is sad.

Both these adjectives are easy to conjugate in the plural form. I think you already know the answer :-)? Yes, you just have to add an s.

  • Il est dévasté: He is devasted.
  • Elle est dévastée: She is devasted.
  • Il est offensé: He is offended.
  • Elle est offensée: She is offended.

These adjectives follow the same pattern as the previous ones.

I will update the article with more feelings and emotion. My intention was to write a separate article about them. However, I think that people who click on the title of this article also wants to learn nouns and adjectives relating to feelings.


I will add more negative personality traits to this list. I will also add a list with positive personality traits in a week or two (Update: I have now added this article.)

There are a lot of negative adjectives that we can use to describe someone, or even ourselves.

I’ve tried to think of the most useful adjectives. Learning them correctly is actually very important. What do I mean with correctly?

For instance, you’ll get a lot of suggestions if you do research for the term childish in French. Some of the examples may be more appropriate for describing things. Some of them can also be adjectives that were more common in the past.

I’ve done the research for you by writing this article, and I’ve actually learned a thing or two :-).

It’s always a good idea to check your own knowledge.

You can try to put these adjectives in different contexts. This process will help you remember them. You’ll also learn to spell them correctly.

Last but not least, you are more than welcome to leave a comment. I enjoy answering questions as they help to understand the French language better.


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