Things get even more complicated when you consider that an Italian speaker has to also find an agreement between the noun and the article. Examples: Feminine is often obtained from masculine by the alternation. Start with the Complete Italian Beginner's course, then follow up with Next Steps Italian. Anyhow, it is possible to notice that masculine nouns ending with -e are really used to refer to professions, but there is something more here than the table can tell us. In this case neve feminine. This happens because abbreviated nouns retain the gender of the words from which they are derived. The Paul Noble Method: no books, no rote memorization, no chance of failure. NOUNS IN ITALIAN (i nomi / sostantivi) Nouns are the labels we attach to people, animals, things, abstract concepts, actions or facts and that let us distinguish a person, an animal, a thing, etc. However, as with every rule, this one also has its exceptions. Nouns which end with -o are usually masculine, while the ones which end with -a are feminine (singular forms). All nouns in Italian have a gender (il genere); that is, they are either masculine or feminine, even those referring to things, qualities, or ideas. . To the contemporary Italian speaker the choice between masculine or feminine seems to be either totally arbitrary, or, in the case of derivative nouns, simply a matter of grammatical fact (e.g., nouns ending with the suffix -zione are feminine, while nouns ending with the suffix -mento are masculine). This guide will help you better understand gender in Italian. Exception: nouns ending in –ma (excluding la mamma mum) are masculine, e.g. Words like “bar” that end in a consonant are generally masculine, such as autobus, film, or sport. For example, there is no logical reason for which il latte (milk) and il sale (salt) "should" be masculine (notably, in Venetian dialect both are feminine). Collective nouns, referring to a group of human beings of both genders, are usually masculine. A lot of Italian nouns, in particular nouns of animated beings, can have both masculine and feminine forms. Check the following table to see how adjectives and nouns agree in gender and number: Qualifying adjectives usually follow the noun; however, all other modifiers — demonstrative, interrogative, possessive, and indefinite pronouns, as well as number — come before the noun: Abbiamo letto un libro interessante. You need to memorize the gender of these nouns. No, not at all. For instance, nobody can really say why the word sedia (chair) is feminine while the word tavolo (table) is masculine. Most Italian nouns end in a vowel—those that end in a consonant are of foreign origin—and all nouns have a gender, even those that refer to a qualities, ideas, and things. Unlike in the English language, Italian nouns have genders. Another thing it is possible to find out by reading the table is that words ending with -one (bottone, mattone, pallone, sapone, etc.) There are many diverse influences on the way that English is used across the world today. She also hosts the 30 Minute Italian podcast. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. il dente—la dent (tooth), il costume—la coutume (costume), il fiore—la fleur (flower), il mare—la mer (sea), la coppia—le couple (couple), la mescolanza—le mélange (mixture), la sciabola—le sabre (saber), il costume—la costumbre (costume), il fiore—la flor (flower), il latte—la leche (milk), il miele—la miel (honey), il sale—la sal (salt), il sangue—la sangre (blood), la cometa—el cometa (comet), la domenica—el domingo (Sunday), l'origine—el origen (origin). Articles (a, an, the, and so on), which are associated with nouns, are also masculine, feminine, singular, or plural according to the noun they refer to. This can be a strange concept to native English speakers as cars are often not thought of as being feminine (except to car aficionados) and dogs are not thought of as being masculine, like in Italian. Get the latest news and gain access to exclusive updates and offers, Unlock Italian with the Paul Noble method. Masculine Articles Lo, Gli . ), Quali libri hai preso in prestito? ), Vorrei comprare questo libro. Masculine nouns do NOT get the articles il and i but rather lo and gli when they begin with a vowel. Interestingly, in Italian most fruits are feminine—la mela (the apple), la pesca (the peach), l'oliva (the olive)—but fruit trees are masculine: il melo (the apple tree), il pesco (the peach tree), and l'ulivo (the olive tree). Interestingly, in Italian most fruits are feminine—la mela (the apple), la pesca (the peach), l'oliva (the olive)—but fruit trees are masculine: il melo (the apple tree), il pesco (the peach tree), and l'ulivo (the olive tree). So the English definite article the is either masculine singular, masculine plural, feminine singular, or feminine plural in Italian. It is easy to notice that masculine is more common than feminine for inanimate objects. Let's start with abstract nouns. The gender agreement here is obviously determined by the biological sex. However, this principle is not always observed. Now let's observe nouns which describe inanimate objects. Il l ibro … In Italian there are only 2 genders: masculine and feminine. Pay attention to the beginning letter of masculine nouns because the article changes according to this letter; this is why you see four versions of masculine nouns in the table. Hero image by Sam Howzit (CC BY 2.0), cropped and colors edited. Some examples of masculine nouns include (with the Italian on the left and the English translation on the right): The most important element to look for to determine the gender is the definite article, but you’ll notice that nouns ending in -e may be masculine or feminine. Over 100,000 English translations of Italian words and phrases. Il : for masculine singular nouns which start with a consonant. Create an account and sign in to access this FREE content. Adjectives provide details about the noun(s) they refer to. Sometimes the same word can have a totally different meaning depending on whether it is masculine or feminine. This can be a strange concept to native English speakers as cars are often not thought of as being feminine (except to car aficionados) and dogs are not thought of as being masculine, like in Italian.