Plural of nouns and adjectives: Italian grammar 4

Summary

Dive into the charming world of Italian plurals! 🇮🇹 This guide breaks down the rules (and those pesky exceptions) for transforming singular nouns and adjectives into their plural forms. Get ready to master everything from gender twists to root changes!

  • Basic Plurals: Just like a pizza recipe, Italian plurals have their base: nouns ending in -o switch to -i, and those in -a flip to -e. Simple, right? 🍕
  • Keep the Crunch: Words ending in -ca or -ga need to keep their hard sound, so they snag an -h in the plural. Think of it as the crunch in your bruschetta! 🥖
  • Stress the Stress: If a noun ends in -io with a stressed -i, keep it in the plural. If it’s chillin’ unstressed, ditch it. Stress matters, folks! 😤
  • Accent on Accents: Got a noun with an accented vowel or ending in a consonant? They’re too cool to change in the plural. Just like that friend who never changes their style. 😎
  • Gender Benders: Some masculine nouns ending in -o decide to go feminine in the plural. Because why not? Italian doesn’t like to be predictable. 💃🕺
  • Root Revolution: A handful of nouns mix things up by changing their root in the plural. It’s like they get a whole new identity. Witness the transformation! 🎭

My thoughts

Italian singular & plural nouns and adjectives

You may know that a noun identifies a person, place, thing, or idea.

A singular noun names one person, place, thing, or idea, while a plural noun names more than one person, place, thing, or idea.

It’s important to pay attention to whether the nouns we use are singular or plural and to know how to make nouns plural the right way.

This post takes a look at how Italian singular nouns and adjectives are turned into plural nouns and adjectives.

Check it out to learn about regular and irregular plurals as well as important definitions, rules, and exceptions.

How to make the plural form of nouns and adjectives

Mastering Italian grammar can be difficult. Here are the rules to form plural nouns and adjectives in Italian.

The main rule to make the singular of nouns and adjectives is as follows:

Nouns ending in –o, the ending changes to –i in the plural. See the example below:

  • Singular: il libro
  • Plural: i libri

Nouns ending in –a, the ending changes to –e in the plural.

  • Singular: la bambina
  • Plural: le bambine

Nouns ending in –ca change to –che in the plural.

  • Singular: l’amica
  • Plural: le amiche

Nouns ending in –e change to –i in the plural.

  • Singular: lo studente
  • Plural: gli studenti

The same applies to adjectives:

  • bello, belli
  • bella, belle
  • grande, grandi

Practice with Quizlet

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

Exceptions to the rule for nouns

There are several exceptions to the rules listed above:

For the nouns that end in –io, the –i is generally not repeated in the ending. Exceptions to this rule are words like lo zio, which becomes gli zii.

See the example below:

  • il cavallo, i cavalli
  • il tavolo, i tavoli
  • il negozio, i negozi

There are certain feminine nouns ending in –a that change to –i in the plural.

See the example below:

  • Singular: l’ala
  • Plural: le ali

There are certain masculine nouns ending in –a that change ending to –i in the plural, along with nouns ending in –o and –e, which can be masculine or feminine.

See examples below:

  • Singular: il problema
  • Plural: i problemi
  • Singular: la mano
  • Plural: le mani

There are also nouns ending in –a that can be both masculine and feminine.

Dentista, for example, can be accompanied by the masculine or feminine article; la dentista or il dentista.

In these cases, the masculine noun changes to –i in the plural, and the feminine noun changes to –e in the plural.

See the example below:

  • Masculine Plural: i dentisti
  • Feminine Plural: le dentiste

Nouns that end in –ca and –ga have a hard sound that needs to be preserved in the plural. To do so, the plural forms add an –h, but are otherwise normal in their pluralization.

These nouns can be either feminine or masculine. Here is an example of each:

  • Singular: la barca
  • Plural: le barche
  • Singular: il collega
  • Plural: I colleghi

The same addition of the ‘h’ in the plural also applies to nouns ending in –go and in –co. Some nouns ending in –co, however, don’t include ‘h’ in the plural (l’amico à gli amici).

  • Singular: il dialogo
  • Plural:i dialoghi
  • Singular: il pacco
  • Plural: i pacchi

Lastly, another type of noun with a spelling change are those that end in cia or –gia. If the –i in this ending is unstressed in the singular, it drops the –i in the plural.

However, if the –i is stressed, it is retained in the plural.

  • Singular: la mancia
  • Plural: le mance
  • Singular: la farmacia
  • Plural: le farmacie

In Italian grammar, other types of nouns are abbreviated, which are shortened to make them easier to write and say.

La foto, for example, is short for la fotografia.

With these nouns, they retain the same ending in the plural shortened forms (le foto).

Similarly, nouns that end with an accented vowel or a consonant don’t change in the plural, either.

See examples below:

  • Singular: il caffé
  • Plural: i caffé
  • la città, le città
  • la virtù, le virtù
  • il papa, i papà

Nouns ending in consonants (which are often borrowed ‘foreign’ words) also have identical singular and plural forms.

Examples:

  • il computer, i computer
  • lo yogurt, gli yogurt
  • il film, i film

All nouns ending in “-io” form the plural under the following rules.

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If the “-i” is stressed, they form the plural in “-ìi

Examples:

  • Zio (uncle) – accent, zìo
  • Rinvio (postponement) – accent, rinvìo

Change the ending in “-ii

Examples:

  • Zii
  • Rinvii

If the “-i” is unstressed, they form the plural in “-i

Examples:

  • Cambio (change) – accent, càmbio
  • Figlio (son) – accent, fìglio

Change the ending in “-i

Examples:

  • Cambi
  • Figli

In Italian, there are also some nouns that in the plural change the root.

  • L’uomo (the man), gli uomini;
  • Il dio (god), gli dei;
  • L’ala (wing), le ali;
  • L’arma (weapon), le armi;
  • Il tempio (temple), i templi / i tempi;
  • Il bue (ox), i buoi;
  • L’eco (feminine) (echo), gli echi (masculine)

A few masculine nouns ending in “-o” become feminine in the plural.

  • Il paio (pair), le paia;
  • L’uovo (egg), le uova;
  • Il migliaio (thousand), le migliaia;
  • Il riso (laugh), le risa;
  • Il centinaio (hundred), le centinaia;
  • Il miglio (mile), le miglia;

How do you pluralize nouns in Italian?

The simplest way to pluralize singular nouns in Italian is to switch one vowel's end-point for another.

Can adjectives be plural in Italian?

In Italian, adjectives are conjugated like nouns: the masculine ending is -o (plural, -i), and the feminine ending is -a (plural -e).

Do nouns and adjectives have to agree in Italian?

In Italian, in terms of gender (masculine or feminine) and number (singular or plural), there must be consistency between the noun and adjective.

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4 Responses

    1. Ciao @meina! Yes, you’re right. The plural of bella is belle.  Thank you for pointing it out 😊

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