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NOUNS

Nouns are words that name and designate people, things, places...

 

FEMININE AND MASCULINE NOUNS cuore

 

Nouns ending with "O" AND "A" Lesson b_2 back button

Italian nouns can be masculine and feminine, singular and plural. For example, the noun "gatto" (cat) has 4 forms:

 

  Masculine Feminine
Singular gattO
gattA
Plural gattI
gattE
  • The plural form of nouns ending with "o" ends with "i"
  • The plural form of nouns ending with "a" ends with "e"

 

Nouns ending with "O" OR"A" Lesson b_2 back button

 

Some nouns have only the masculine OR the feminine form (singular and plural). For example, the noun "libro" (book) is masculine:

 

  Masculine Feminine
Singular librO
 
Plural librI
 

 

The noun "sedia" is feminine:

 

  Masculine Feminine
Singular
sediA
Plural
sediE

 

 

Nouns ending with "E" Lesson b_3 back button

 

Some Italian nouns end with "e". They can be masculine OR feminine. The only way to know their gender is by consulting a dictionary or deducting it from the article in front of the noun.

 

For example, the noun "fiore" (flower) is masculine. The noun "televisione" (television) is feminine. The plural form of ALL nouns (feminine or masculine) ending with "E" ends with "I".

 

  Masculine Feminine
Singular fiorE
televisionE
Plural fiorI
televisionI

 

 

SINGULAR AND PLURAL Lesson b_3 back button

 

Italian nouns and adjectives can be masculine and feminine, singular and plural.

They change the ending vowel according to their gender (feminine or masculine) and number (singular or plural).

 

See the chart below for all the different endings:

 

  Masculine
nouns and adjectives ending with O

Feminine

nouns and adjectives ending with A

Masculine or feminine

nouns and adjectives ending with E

Singular

gattO

bellO

gattA

bellA

televisionE

interessantE

Plural

gattI

bellI

gattE

bellE

televisionI

interessantI

  • The plural form of nouns and adjectives ending with "O" is "i"
  • The plural form of nouns and adjectives ending with "A" is "e"
  • The plural form of nouns and adjectives ending with "E" is "i"

 

IRREGULAR NOUNS Lesson i_3 back button

 

The Italian language has many irregular nouns.

 

Irregular nouns Masculine Feminine
Some nouns have an irregular plural. uomo/uomini (man/men)  
Some nouns have an irregular feminine form.

Certain people prefer to use only the masculine form of the nouns indicated by * instead of the irregular femminine form (e.g. "La Signora Rossi è il presidente della società" - Ms. Rossi is the president of the company)

attore (actor)
scrittore
(writer)
pittore
(painter)
imperatore
(emperor)
direttore*
(director)
dottore
(doctor)
presidente*
(president)
poeta
(poet)
avvocato*
(lawyer)
attrice
scrittrice
pittrice
imperatrice
direttrice
dottoressa
presidentessa
poetessa
avvocatessa
Some nouns have only the singular form, including all nouns ending with an accented vowel and all foreign nouns (e.g. "un re, due re" - one king, two kings) re (king)
ossigeno (oxigen)
tassì
(taxi)
caffè (coffee)
hotel

sport
yoga
yogurt
gru (crane)
città
(city)
università
(university)
Some nouns are used only in the plural form. occhiali (glasses) forbici (scissors)
Some masculine nouns end with "a" and form the
plural ending with "i".
poeta/poeti (poet/s)
problema/problemi (problem/s)
 
Some feminine nouns end with "o" and form the plural ending with "i".   mano/mani (hand/hands)
Some nouns are masculine in the singular form, but become feminine in the plural, ending with "a". braccio (arm)
labbro
(lip)
dito
(finger)
ginocchio
(knee)
uovo (egg)
braccia (arms)
labbra
(lips)
dita
(fingers)
ginocchia
(knees)
uova (eggs)
Nouns ending with "co/ca" or "go/ga" add an "h" in the plural form. lago/laghi (lake/s)
amica/amiche (friend/s)
Some masculine nouns ending with "co" or go" do not add the "h" amico/amici (friend/s)
medico/medici (doctor/s)
 
Feminine nouns ending with "cia" or "gia" become "ce" or "ge" when a consonant precedes the ending "cia" or "gia".   arancia/arance (orange/s)

 

 

ARTICLES

Articles are placed before a noun; they introduce a noun in the sentence, indicating its number (singular or plural) and gender (feminine or masculine).

 

INDEFINITE ARTICLES Lesson b_2 back buttoncuore

 

Indefinite articles introduce a generic or not defined noun.

 

Masculine   Feminine  
un
(used before masculine nouns starting with vowel or consonant: e.g. "un uomo, un libro")
a, an una
(used before feminine nouns starting with consonant: e.g. "una donna")
a
uno
(used before masculine nouns starting with s+ consonant, z, gn, x, y, ps, pn, i+vowel: e.g. "uno studente")
a, an un'
(used before feminine nouns starting with vowel: e.g. "un'automobile")
an

 

 

DEFINITE ARTICLES Lesson b_3 back buttoncuore

 

Definite articles introduce a specific, defined or previously mentioned noun.

 

Singular Masculine   Feminine  
il
(used before masculine nouns starting with consonant: e.g. "il libro")
the la
(used before feminine nouns starting with consonant: e.g. "la donna")
the
l'
(used before masculine nouns starting with vowel: e.g. "l'uomo")
l'
(used before feminine nouns starting with vowel: e.g. "l'automobile")
lo
(used before masculine nouns starting with s+ consonant, z, gn, x, y, ps, pn, i+vowel: e.g. "lo studente")
 
Plural i
(used before masculine nouns starting with consonant: e.g. "i libri")
the le
(used before feminine nouns starting with consonant and vowel: e.g. "le donne, le automobili")
the
gli
(used before masculine nouns starting with vowel and s + consonant, z, gn, x, y, ps, pn, i+vowel: e.g. "gli uomini, gli studenti")

 

 

WHEN TO USE ARTICLES back button

 

When Italians use articles

When Italians DON'T use articles

Before nouns: il gatto, la donna, l'uomo, il libro, la casa... When they want to convey a very generic feeling of something indefinite: mangio pasta, vedo amici, faccio cose, leggo libri...

Before a person's profession:

il dottore, il meccanico, il professore, la professoressa...

Before a name*:

Roberto, Maria, Stefano, Alice, Roma, Milano...

 

*In some Italian regiones they use articles even in front of person's names (il Roberto, la Maria, etc...)

Before a title: il signore, la signora, l'onorevole...

Il signore è italiano? La signora Verdi è italiana.

Before the demonstrative adjective (questo, quello):

questa casa, questo libro, quel ragazzo, quegli amici...

Before a possesive adjective: la mia casa, il mio libro, la mia macchina, il mio amico...

Before a possessive adjective followed by a singular family noun: mia madre, mio padre, mio fratello, mia sorella

Before dates:

il 2 giugno 1990

 

Before hours:

sono le 3, è l'una

Before mezzogiorno and mezzanotte:

è mezzogiorno...

Before names of nations or associations in the plural:

gli Stati Uniti, le Nazioni Unite...

 

Before the days of the week to indicate a repeated, habitual activity: la domenica studio italiano.

With days of the week: domenica vado in montagna.

 

 

PARTITIVE ARTICLES Lesson b_12, Lesson i_3 back button

 

Partitive articles introduce a part of a whole or an indefinite quantity. They are composed by the simple preposition "di" plus the definite article:

 

Articles: il lo l' la i gli le

Di

del dello dell' della dei degli delle
  • Vorrei del pane (I would like some bread)
  • Vuoi del caffé? (Would you like some coffe?)
  • Ho comprato della frutta (I have bought some fruit)

Usually, in the singular form, the partitive article can be replaced by "un po' di":

  • Vorrei del pane = Vorrei un po' di pane (I would like some bread)
  • Vuoi del caffé? = Vuoi un po' di caffé? (Would you like a little bit of coffe?)
  • Ho comprato della frutta = Ho comprato un po' di frutta (I have bought some fruit)

"Un po' di" is mostly used in informal situations.

 

Usually, in the plural form, the partitive article can be replaced by "alcuni/alcune":

  • Degli studenti ti cercano = Alcuni studenti ti cercano (Some students are looking for you)
  • Ho dei libri interessanti = Ho alcuni libri interessanti (I have some interesting books)
  • Ci sono delle persone simpatiche alla festa = Ci sono alcune persone simpatiche alla festa (There are some nice people at the party).

"Alcuni/alcune" is mostly used in formal situations.

 

Please note: alcuni/alcune in negative sentences are used in the singular form with the meaning of "nessuno/nessuna": non ho ricevuto alcuna notizia - non ho ricevuto nessuna notizia (I have not received any news).

 

"Qualche" is invariable and is used with singular nouns:

  • "Ho qualche libro." (I have some books, a few books).