Color Agreement in French

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Color Agreement in French: A Guide for Copy Editors

When it comes to writing in French, one aspect that can trip up even experienced copy editors is color agreement. Unlike in English, where color words remain the same regardless of the gender or number of the noun they modify, French color words change based on the noun they are accompanying. This means that paying attention to color agreement is crucial for ensuring grammatical correctness in your French writing, especially when it comes to SEO.

So, what exactly is color agreement in French, and how can you master it as a copy editor? Let’s dive in.

Color Agreement in French: The Basics

In French, the color of an adjective must agree in gender and number with the noun it modifies. This means that if you are writing about a red car (voiture rouge), the color word rouge must match the gender (feminine) and number (singular) of the noun voiture. If instead you are writing about red cars, the adjective rouge must be pluralized to match the plural noun voitures.

For example:

– Une voiture rouge (a red car)

– Des voitures rouges (red cars)

This basic rule holds true for all colors in French, whether they are basic colors like blue (bleu) and green (vert), or more complex shades like turquoise (turquoise) and fuchsia (fuchsia).

Beyond the basics, there are a few more nuances to color agreement in French that are worth noting.

Exceptions to the Rule

While most color adjectives in French change in gender and number to match the noun they modify, there are some exceptions. In particular, colors that are derived from nouns or proper nouns do not change.

For example:

– Un pull orange (an orange sweater)

– Des pulls orange (orange sweaters)

In this case, orange is derived from the fruit of the same name, which does not have a gender in French. As a result, orange remains the same regardless of the gender or number of the noun it modifies.

Other colors that do not change in French include beige, marron (brown), and saumon (salmon).

Agreement with Compound Nouns

Another aspect of color agreement in French that can be tricky is when the color modifies a compound noun that contains more than one gender. In these cases, the color should agree in gender with the last element of the compound noun.

For example:

– Une robe rouge et noire (a red and black dress)

– Des robes rouges et noires (red and black dresses)

In this case, the second noun (robe) is feminine, so the color rouge must also be feminine, even though the first noun (noire) is masculine.

Agreement with Adjectives of Quantity

Finally, it’s worth noting that when a color adjective is used in conjunction with an adjective of quantity (such as beaucoup de or plusieurs), the color should agree in gender and number with the noun it modifies, not the quantity adjective.

For example:

– Beaucoup de fleurs rouges (many red flowers)

– Plusieurs voitures blanches (several white cars)

In these cases, the color adjective (rouges and blanches) agrees with the noun it modifies (fleurs and voitures), not with the quantity adjective (beaucoup de and plusieurs).

Why Color Agreement Matters for SEO

As a copy editor, you might be wondering why color agreement is so important for SEO. The answer lies in the fact that search engines like Google place a high value on grammatically correct content. This means that if your French content contains errors in color agreement (or any other aspect of grammar, for that matter), it can hurt your SEO rankings.

Furthermore, if your French content is intended for a French-speaking audience, incorrect color agreement can make your writing look amateurish and unprofessional, which can undermine your credibility and reputation.

That’s why it’s essential for copy editors working on French content to pay close attention to color agreement and ensure that all color adjectives match the gender and number of the nouns they modify.


Color agreement in French might seem like a small detail, but it can have a big impact on the quality and effectiveness of your writing. As a copy editor, it’s your job to ensure that all color adjectives in your French content match the gender and number of the nouns they modify. By mastering this aspect of French grammar, you can help improve your SEO rankings and ensure that your content is polished, professional, and effective.