Italian adjectives: Italian grammar lesson 196

To master this grammar topic, take Lesson 196 of the audio course Ripeti Con Me!
Italian adjectives 2


An adjective is a word that modifies or describes a noun and refers to a characteristic or a quality.

Some examples of adjectives are the following: “nice”, “great”, “boring”, and “crazy”. You probably already know a lot of Italian adjectives like “bello“, “grande“, “facile“, “pulito“, etc.

In today’s lesson, we’re going to learn some new adjectives that have a very specific ending.

Adjectives ending in -bile

In Italian, there are groups of adjectives that have the same ending. In this case, we’re going to focus on those ending in –bile (either –able or –ible).

This specific ending comes from Latin and refers to the possibility or the ability to have a specific characteristic.

Their equivalents in English usually end in -ble (also either -able or -ible) so they are easy to recognize and learn. Here’s a list of common adjectives ending in -bile:

  • accessibile: accessible
  • accettabile: acceptable
  • compatibile: compatible
  • comprensibile: comprehensible
  • concepibile: conceivable
  • credibilecredible
  • desiderabiledesirable
  • paragonabilecomparable
  • possibile: possible
  • responsabileresponsible
  • sensibilesensitive (if you want to say “sensible”, then you can say “sensato)
  • vulnerabilevulnerable

Practice with Quizlet

Here's a set of flashcards and quizzes to practice this grammar topic.

Adjectives starting with in-, im-, ir- and ending in -bile

Italian adjectives

Like in English, in Italian we can say the opposite of an adjective just by adding two letters at the beginning of it: either in-, im- or -ir. Think of the words “possible” vs. “impossible”, or “credible” vs. “incredible”.

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It’s the same logic in Italian. We tend to use in- much more often than im-.

However, there are some exceptions: im- is usually added to those adjectives starting with a “p” or an “m“.

There is a much less common one which is ir- for those words starting with an “r“. We’ll give you the opposite of the first five adjectives that we saw above.

We’ll leave the rest to you. Make sure you apply the rules we just gave you.

  • inaccessibile: inaccessible
  • inaccettabile: inacceptable
  • incompatibile: incompatible
  • incomprensibile: incomprehensible
  • inconcepibile: inconceivable

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