Adjectives

Italian adjectives
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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

  1. Modify nouns
  2. Must agree in gender and number with nouns
  3. Usually follow nouns
  4. 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.

Per esempio…

alto (tall)

alto   alti
alta   alte

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.

entusiasta (enthusiastic)

entusiasta   entusiasti
entusiasta   entusiaste

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.

facile (easy)

facile   facili
facile   facili

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.

stanco (tired)

stanco   stanchi
stanca   stanche

largo (wide)

largo   larghi
larga   larghe

 * Adjectives with 3 or more syllables with stress on the antepenultimate (3rd from last) syllable change –co to –ci for masculine plural.

automatico (automatic)

automatico   automatici
automatica   automatiche

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Introduction to Italian adjectives