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One of the eight parts of speech, adjectives are a type of modifier; that is, they modify or describe nouns in a certain way, letting you know the size, shape, weight, color, nationality, or any of a myriad other possible qualities of nouns.
Adjectives serve the same purpose in Italian and English, but they are very different in other respects.
Characteristics of Italian Adjectives
- Modify nouns
- Must agree in gender and number with nouns
- Usually follow nouns
- May be modified by adverbs
Gender and Number of Italian Adjectives
English adjectives have a single form, but Italian adjectives can have up to 4 forms, according to the gender and number of the nouns they modify:
|masculine singular||masculine plural|
|feminine singular||feminine plural|
If you’ve already studied the noun lesson, some of these rules will look familiar.
1) Masculine singular is the default form and usually ends in -o. This changes to -a for feminine singular, -i for masculine plural, and -e for feminine plural.
2) When the masculine adjective ends in -a, there is no difference between masculine and feminine singular. The masculine plural is created by changing -a to -i, the feminine plural to –e.
3) When the masculine adjective ends in -e, there is no difference between the masculine and feminine forms. The plural is created by changing -e to -i.
4) Masculine adjectives that end in –co or –go change to –ca / –ga for feminine singular. Masculine plural is usually –chi* / –ghi, while feminine plural is always –che / –ghe.
* Adjectives with 3 or more syllables with stress on the antepenultimate (3rd from last) syllable change –co to –ci for masculine plural.
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