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In the following sentence:

Nous pouvons espérer une vie meilleure.

It uses the order of une vie meilleure, not une meilleure vie.

However, meilleur is one of the BANGS adjectives and thus I thought it should be put before the noun vie. That said, when I googled both une meilleure vie and une vie meilleure, both get enough results, and without a warning such as Do you mean [insert the other expression]?.

So why is the position of meilleure after the noun, and if both are correct, what is the difference in its meaning?

  • Voir ici : french.stackexchange.com/questions/30253/… – Dimitris Mar 29 at 12:51
  • Aussi cette question : french.stackexchange.com/questions/13632/… – Dimitris Mar 29 at 12:59
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    Pour les locuteurs natifs du français qui ne connaissent pas l'acronyme BA(N)GS : En cours FLE (français langue étrangère) on apprend (niveau <B2) que : the placement of most adjectives in French is after the noun: un escargot parlant, une fourmi travailleuse, des tatous intelligents, etc. There is a small group of adjectives, however, that normally precede the noun. These adjectives may be categorized as adjectives of Beauty, Age, Numbers Goodness, and Size (BANGS). laits.utexas.edu/tex/gr/adj3.html – Dimitris Mar 29 at 13:02
  • C'est une règle mnémonique appartenant dans la même catégorie des règles souhaitant supporter apprentissage comme MRSDRVANDERTRAMPP pour les verbes conjugués avec être comme verbe auxiliaire. – Dimitris Mar 29 at 13:04
  • 'Vie meilleure' is more emphatic, precisely because it is less natural: it stands out. It's literaly life-changing. – Mathieu Bouville Mar 30 at 8:31
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While BANGS is a good rule of thumb, it's not a strong, 100% true rule.

Many adjectives that are usually before the noun can be placed after it in some cases, mostly for historic or stylistic reasons (it "sounds better" or "sounds more/less formal").

Here the meaning is the same.

  • @LPH What do you mean, "fast"? – Teleporting Goat Mar 30 at 22:20
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    fast has two opposite meanings in English: the usual one, vite, and a rarer one, bien attaché ou bien coincé (I can't think of a single French word for it, and apparently, neither can Wiktionnaire); hard and fast is an idiom which uses the second meaning. – Peter Shor Mar 31 at 16:08
  • @PeterShor Maybe Larousse en ligne provides some insight i.e. absolu(e) or strict(e). Maybe infaillible comes close in context? See also inflexible, rigoureuse. Those are really along the lines of the terms LPH used in English (strict, inflexible). Imho absolu(e) is the best. – sinople incandescent Apr 1 at 9:47

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