Italian Nouns - Gender & Number
Il Nome e il Genere – Maschile e Femminile | (Noun and Gender – Masculine and Feminine)
In Italian, unlike English, nouns (nomi – words that refer to a person or a thing) have endings that change depending on the gender and number. So, the ending of a noun will reveals its gender (masculine vs. feminine) and number (singular vs. plural). Italians nouns therefore cannot be neutre, they are either feminine or masculine.
As a general rule, singular nouns that end with – A are feminine, while in the plural form they change to end in -E:
There is also one more instance, where singular nouns that end in -E can either be masculine or feminine, while the plural form always ends in – I. Unfortunately, there is no set rule to help identify them. A lot of teachers make students study them by heart, I personally believe it’s not a big deal if you don’t get it right the first time, people will still understand you. You can spend that time instead practicing something else more valuable. Don’t worry, you’ll learn them eventually without any effort.
There are, however, more exceptions to the above rules:
- L’uovo (The egg) – Le uova (The eggs)
- L’uomo (The man) – Gli uomini (The men)
- La mano (The hand) – Le mani (The hands)
- Il dito (The finger) – Le dita (The fingers)
- Il bar (The bar) – I bar (The bars)
- Il cinema (The cinema) – I cinema (The cinemas)
- La radio (The radio) – Le radio (The radios)
- Il programma (The program) – I programmi (The programs)
- Il problema (The problem) – I problemi (The problems)
One last exception is for all nouns that have been adopted from other languages or that end in an invariable accent. This one is actually, very simple as all you do is just change the article in the plural form:
- Il bidè (The bidè) – I bidè (The bidès)
- Il caffè (The coffee) – I caffè (The coffees)
- Il papà (The dad) – I papà (The dads)
- Il PC (The PC) – I PC (The PCs)
- La email (The email) – Le email (The emails)
- Il computer (The computer) – I computer (The computers)
- Lo smartphone (The smartphone) – Gli smartphone (The smartphones)
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