Describing people in French using 'avoir' and 'être'

Describing people’s height

To describe people’s size, use a form of être (to be) and then the adjective, which usually ‎changes its ending depending on whether the person is masculine or feminine.‎

  • Mon père est grand - My dad is tall.‎
  • Ma mère est grande - My mum is tall.‎
  • Ma sœur est de taille moyenne - My sister is medium height.‎
  • Mon demi-frère est petit - My step-brother is short.‎
  • Ma grand-mère est petite - My grandmother is short.‎
A father stands behind his shorter son

Mon père est grand

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You can use intensifiers (words that add ‘force’ to an adjective) such as ‎très (very) and assez (quite) to add more information.‎

  • Je suis très grand(e) - I am very tall.‎
  • Mon grand-père est assez petit - My grandfather is quite short.‎

Comparing people’s heights

To compare two people, use the following sentence structure:‎

Person one + a form of être (to be)‎more / less + adjectivethan/as‎person two‎
Je suis (I am)plus grand(e)‎ ‎(taller)‎que ‎(than)‎mon frère (my brother)‎
Ma sœur est (My sister is)moins grande ‎‎(less tall / not as tall)‎que ‎(than/as‎‎)‎ma mère (my mum)‎

Describing hair

To talk about your hair, use a form of avoir (to have), followed by les cheveux (hair) and ‎then give the colour or another adjective to describe your hair.

  • J’ai les cheveux bruns - I have brown hair.‎
  • Il a les cheveux bruns et frisés - He has brown, curly hair. ‎

If you want to use more than one adjective to describe your hair, use et before the last ‎adjective:‎

  • J’ai les cheveux blonds, longs et bouclés - I have long, blond, wavy hair.‎

The adjectives all need to have an ‘s’ on the end, as les cheveux is masculine and plural, ‎except roux and gris, as they don’t change when masculine and plural.‎

j'ai les cheveux …‎I have … hair
il / elle a les cheveux …‎he / she has … hair
rouxred / ginger

Describing eye colour

To talk about eye colour, use j’ai (I have) or il a/elle a (he has/she has), followed by les ‎yeux (eyes) and then give the colour.‎

The adjectives all need to have an ‘s’ on the end, as les yeux is masculine and plural, ‎except marron, noisette and gris, as they don’t change when used in the masculine and ‎plural.‎

  • J’ai les yeux verts - I have green eyes.‎
  • J’ai les yeux marron - I have brown eyes.‎
j’ai les yeux …‎ I have … eyes
il / elle a les yeux …‎he / she has … eyes

Describing other features

There are lots of other things you can say about someone’s appearance. Here are a few ‎more examples:‎

j’ai des taches de rousseurI have freckles
je porte des lunettesI wear glasses
je porte le hijab / je porte le voileI wear a hijab / headscarf‎
je porte un turbanI wear a turban
il a une barbehe has a beard
il a une moustachehe has a moustache
il est chauvehe is bald

Describing personalities

There are lots of adjectives you can use to talk about people’s personalities.

Most adjective endings change depending on whether the person you are talking about is ‎male or female. ‎ Usually, you add an ‘e’ to the adjective to describe a female person: ‎

  • Mon copain, qui s’appelle Nabil, est amusant et très bavard - My (male) friend, ‎Nabil, is funny and very chatty.‎
  • Ma copine, qui s’appelle Anya, est amusante et très bavarde - My (female) friend, ‎Anya is funny and very chatty.‎

Sometimes, you need to change the last consonant and add an ‘e’ to make an adjective ‎feminine. With some adjectives, you have to double the consonant and add an ‘e’.‎

  • Mon copain, qui s’appelle Nabil, est gentil et très sportif - My (male) friend, Nabil, ‎is kind and very sporty.‎
  • Ma copine, qui s’appelle Anya, est gentille et très sportive - My (female) friend, ‎Anya is kind and very sporty.‎

Some adjectives don’t change when they are feminine.‎

  • Mon copain, qui s’appelle Nabil, est sympa et très drôle - My (male) friend, Nabil, ‎is nice and very funny.‎
  • Ma copine, qui s’appelle Anya, est sympa très drôle - My (female) friend, Anya is ‎nice and very funny.‎

Here are some great adjectives you can use to describe people’s personalities:‎

amusantamusantefunny / fun


Watch the video and find out how much you know about describing people in French in this short quiz.‎

Where next?

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