Italian nouns: gender and number
In Italian every noun has a gender (masculine or feminine) and a number (singular or plural). Almost every Italian noun ends with a vowel except some nouns, which come from other languages, and can finish with a consonant.
- Nouns ending in -o are masculine (m.): prosciutto (ham), ragazzo (boy), armadio (wardrobe), treno (train), tavolo (table), gelato (ice cream), orologio (clock), lavoro (work).
- Nouns ending in -a are feminine (f.): penna (pen), ragazza (girl), pizza, casa (home), spiaggia (beach), verdure (vegetable), birra (bier), panna (cream), borsa (bag), patata (potato), cucina (kitchen), macchina (car).
In Italian we also have nouns ending in -e though which can be either masculine or feminine. In this case you can memorize the gender, look it up in a vocabulary or, if there is one, you can guess it thank to the article. For example:
Fiore – Il fiore: the masculine article “IL” tells us that “fiore” is also masculine.
Stazione – La stazione: the feminine article “LA” tells us that “stazione” is also feminine.
There are some tricks to help us understand if a noun is masculine or feminine:
- A noun ending in -e is masculine if:
– they refer to masculine people [padre (father), re (king), student (student)];
– they end in –ore: fiore (flower), rancore (resentment), stupore (astonishment), umore (mood).
- A noun ending in -e is feminine e if:
– they end in –ione: stazione (station), televisione (television), stagione (season).
– they end in –udine: abitudine (habit), solitudine (loneliness).
From singular to plural
Let’s now see how to form the plural of a singular noun.
The suffix -o and -e become -i and the suffix -a becomes -e.
|MASCULINE AND FEMININE||-E||-I|
IL LIBRO – I LIBRI (the book – the books)
LA RAGAZZA – LE RAGAZZE (the girl – the girls)
IL TAVOLO – I TAVOLI (the table – the tables)
LA PIZZA – LE PIZZE (the pizza – the pizzas)
IL CANE – I CANI (the dog- the dogs)
LA CANDELA – LE CANDELE (the candle – the candles)
L’EVIDENZIATORE – GLI EVIDENZIATORI (the highlighter – the highlighters)
LA MAGLIETTA – LE MAGLIETTE (the t-shirt – the t-shirts)
IL TAPPETO – I TAPPETI (the rug – the rugs)
L’ABITUDINE – LE ABITUDINI (the habit – the habits)
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Categories: Italian lessons