Languages › French French Determiners: Adjectifs déterminants Share Flipboard Email Print Photo: Hometown Paris French Grammar Pronunciation & Conversation Vocabulary Resources For Teachers By ThoughtCo Updated February 21, 2020 The grammatical term "determiner" refers to a word, either an article or a certain type of adjective, which simultaneously introduces and modifies a noun. Determiners, also known as non-qualifying adjectives, are much more common in French than in English; some sort of determiner is nearly always required in front of each noun used and has to agree with it in gender and number. The main difference between a qualifying (descriptive) adjective and a non-qualifying adjective (determiner) has to do with usage. Qualifying adjectives qualify or describe a noun, while non-qualifying adjectives introduce a noun and may determine or specify it at the same time. In addition, qualifying adjectives may be: Placed before or after the noun they modifySeparated from the noun they modify by other wordsModified by a comparative or superlative adverbUsed in conjunction with one or more other qualifying adjectives to modify a single noun Determiners, on the other hand, Always directly precede the noun they modifyCannot themselves be modifiedCannot be used with other determiners They can, however, be used with qualifying adjectives, as in ma belle maison, or "my beautiful house." Types of French Determiners Articles Definite articles Definite articles denote a specific noun, or a noun in general. le, la, l', lesthe J'ai mangé l'oignon.I ate the onion. Indefinite articles Indefinite articles refer to an unspecified noun. un, une / desa, an / some J'ai mangé un oignon.I ate an onion. Partitive articles Partitive articles indicate an unknown quantity, usually of food or drink. du, de la, de l', dessome J'ai mangé de l'oignon.I ate some onion. Adjectives Demonstrative adjectives Demonstrative adjectives indicate a specific noun. ce, cet, cette / cesthis, that / these, those J'ai mangé cet oignon.I ate that onion. Exclamative adjectives Exclamative adjectives express a strong sentiment. quel, quelle / quels, quelleswhat a / what Quel oignon!What an onion! Indefinite adjectives Affirmative indefinite adjectives modify nouns in a unspecific sense. autre, certain, chaque, plusieurs...other, certain, each, several... J'ai mangé plusieurs oignons.I ate several onions. Interrogative adjectives Interrogative adjectives clarify "which" of something one is referring to. quel, quelle, quels, quelleswhich Quel oignon ?Which onion? Negative adjectives Negative indefinite adjectives negate or cast doubt on a quality of the noun. ne... aucun, nul, pas un...no, not a single, not one... Je n'a mangé aucun oignon.I didn't eat a single onion. Numerical adjectives Numerical adjectives include all numbers; however, only cardinal numbers are determiners, because fractions and ordinal numbers can be used with articles. un, deux, trois...one, two, three... J'ai mangé trois oignons.I ate three onions. Possessive adjectives Possessive adjectives modify a noun with its possessor. Mon, ta, ses...My, your, his... J'ai mangé ton oignon.I ate your oignon. Relative adjectives Relative adjectives, which are very formal, indicate a link between a noun and an antecedent. lequel, laquelle, lesquels, lesquelleswhich, said Il a mangé l'oignon, lequel oignon était pourri.He ate the onion, said onion was rotten. French Articles Can Be Confusing — Here's How to Make Sense of Them Lequel, a Difficult French Pronoun, Explained The French Word Tout and Its Variations French Negative Adjectives Lesson Talking About 'These Girls' in French, It's 'Ces Filles' Not 'Cettes' Understanding and Using French Adjectives All About French Indefinite Adjectives 'Quel' as a French Interrogative Adjective: Which? What? French Superlative Adverbs - Adverbs Superlatifs The Differences Between Confusing French Pairs How and When to Use the French Present Participle What Is Grammatical French Agreement? A Guide to French Demonstrative Adjectives The Different Past Tenses in French French Numerical Adjectives - Adjectifs numéraux French Grammar: Separating You 'Encore' From Your 'Toujours'