Italian Nouns - Gender & Number

In Italian, similarly to the other Romance languages (e.g., French), all nouns have a gender and number associated with them. When learning a new language a good starting point is always articles, gender and number. In this page we introduce and explain to you Nouns – Gender and 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:

 Singolare Plurale 

la palestra

la casa

la patata




le palestre

le case

le patate

le amiche

le arie

While, singular nouns that end with – O are masculine, and in the plural form they change to end in -I:

 Singolare Plurale 

il popolo

il cibo

lo zoccolo

lo sbadiglio



i popoli

i cibi

gli zoccoli

gli sbadigli

gli arcobaleni

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. 

Feminine Exceptions:
 Singolare Plurale 

la lezione

la chiave

la madre

la nave

la situazione


le lezioni

le chiavi

le madri

le navi

le situazioni

Masculine Exceptions:
 Singolare Plurale 

il pane

il pesce

il padre

il mare

il canale






i canali

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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