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What is the capital of Tunisia?

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What is the capital of Tunisia?

Why say “ma ville japonaise préférée”, not “ma ville préférée japonaise”?

I will try to expose my (french) opinion

The position of adjectives in French follows an increasing order in terms of precision:

ma ville japonaise préférée

  1. It is a city
  2. Among all the cities, I place it in Japan
  3. Among all the Japanese cities, this is my favorite

ma ville préférée japonaise

  1. It is a city
  2. Among all the cities, this is my favorite
  3. Among all my favorite cities (only one …), it is a Japanese one

I have just highlighted the weirdness that could feel a native speaker on the second sentence.
In the second case, a french speaker will hear
Ma ville préférée est japonaise

It’s not exactly the same meaning.

“Préféré” here is not just an adjective, it is to be understood in combination with the possessive that begins the groupe nominal (in your example, ma) in order to indicate a specific person’s superlative preference for the thing being qualified. For example, une ville préférée by itself doesn’t really have meaning — by whom is it preferred?

In other words Mon (quelque chose) préféré, ma (quelque chose) préférée, son (quelque chose) préféré, etc. is an expression the order of which cannot be changed — préféré must come last in the groupe nominal, and if there are qualifiers that are necessary to indicate the universe among which the thing is preferred, they need to come before.

I don’t know if there are any other adjectives besides préféré that combine with the possessive pronoun to form a similar construction where the adjective comes last, but it could be thought of as similar to the way that the order needs to be maintained in mon meilleur (quelque chose) or mon pire (quelque chose).


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What is the capital of Tunisia?