In our latest French word of the week blog, we’re going to study the adjective vieux.
First of all, have a listen to its pronunciation below. We’ve also included an audio clip of its feminine form, vieille, which sounds very different.
As an adjective, vieux has several forms. Vieux is the masculine singular form. We already mentioned its feminine singular form, vieille. But there are three other important things to note about further spellings of this adjective:
- To use vieux before a word that starts with a vowel or mute h, change the spelling to vieil.
- To use vieux as a plural, there is no spelling change.
- To use vieille as a plural, add an -s on the end to make vieilles.
If you need a bit of a refresher on adjectives in general, check out our French Easy Learning Grammar pages on using adjectives.
Despite having to remember some intricacies about the various forms of this adjective, it does have a very simple translation. Vieux means old in English. Ready to look at some examples of it in use?
Ces arbres sont les plus vieux du pays. These are the oldest trees in the country.
Jean est un vieil ami à nous. Jean is an old friend of ours.
Ma vieille bague est très fragile. My old ring is very fragile.
Tu dois mettre des vieilles chaussures – il y aura de la boue au chemin. You need to put on old shoes – the route will be muddy.
les bons vieux temps the good old days
vieux jeu old-fashioned
Je n’aime pas ce chapeau, il est très vieux jeu. I don’t like this hat, it’s very old-fashioned.
faire vieux to look old
se faire vieux to get/become old
After reading these examples, you may have noticed something about this adjective that’s a bit different – vieux is one of a group of common French adjectives that come before the noun, rather than after the noun. You can find a list of other adjectives that precede the nouns they describe on our French Easy Learning Grammar page about adjectives and word order.
Now that you’ve familiarised yourself with the adjective, it’s worth knowing that vieux and its different forms can also be used as nouns:
un petit vieux a little old man
les vieilles the old women
Chaque semaine j’aide les vieux à faire leurs courses. Every week I help older people to get their groceries.
Ah mon vieux, tu vas me manquer ! I’m going to miss you, old boy!
We hope that this week’s blog has given you some extra confidence in your French learning. This sort of stuff will be old news to you in no time! See you next week.
Written by Holly Tarbet, freelance copywriter and editor.
All opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of Collins, or its parent company, HarperCollins.