The names of metals and chemical elements: The names of the months and days of the week (except Sunday): The names of mountains, seas, rivers, and lakes: The names of the sciences and in general abstract notions: The names of continents, states, regions, cities, and islands. Usually: Nouns ending in -o are masculine (m.): prosciutto (ham), ragazzo (boy), armadio (wardrobe), treno (train), tavolo… Michael San Filippo co-wrote The Complete Idiot's Guide to Italian History and Culture. 2 How to recognize what gender a noun is. She also hosts the 30 Minute Italian podcast. In Italian every noun has a gender (masculine or feminine) and a number (singular or plural). In Italian there are only 2 genders: masculine and feminine. Usually, Italian singular masculine nouns end in -o, while feminine nouns end in –a(-tà). (not bravo)The soprano is good. from another one. There are a number of exceptions, like il poeta, "the poet," being masculine, but you can stick to the rule above when in doubt. You need to memorize the gender of these nouns. For more details, see our Privacy Policy. 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. There are, in fact, several nouns of the type that, while considered feminine in grammatical gender, denote men: la guardia (guard), la vedetta (sentry), la sentinella (sentry), la recluta (recruit), la spia (spy). Words like “bar” that end in a consonant are generally masculine, such as autobus, film, or sport. 1. nearly all words ending in –a are feminine. Other common words covered by this rule include those that would seem to be masculine (ending in -o), but are actually feminine because the words from which they are derived are feminine (ending in -a): Similar to English, Italian has a different ending when a noun is singular or plural. This happens because abbreviated nouns retain the gender of the words from which they are derived. Regarding people and animals, the distinction is in relation to sex; nouns of male living beings are masculine: padre (father), scrittore (writer), infermiere (nurse), gatto (cat), leone (lion), while nouns of female living beings are feminine: madre (mother), scrittrice (writer), infermiera (nurse), gatta (cat), leonessa (lioness). Although there are some exceptions, the following are the rules that Italian nouns usually follow: 1. Le reclute sono arrivate. 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 English, there are four possible endings instead of English’s one, as shown in these tables: Nouns ending with an accented vowel or a consonant do not change in the plural, nor do abbreviated words, as in these examples: Learning the gender and number of each noun takes practice, so don’t stress if you still make mistakes. 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. Nouns that end in a consonant are of foreign origin. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. You’ll start to notice that some words that would seem to be feminine—like “cinema” since it ends in an -a—are actually masculine. The gender of Italian nouns can be often established by looking at the word ending, but there are many exceptions. (Those that don’t are most probably foreign in origin.) There are some simple rules that will enable you to work out the gender of a very large number of Italian nouns from their last letter in the singular: nearly all words ending in –o are masculine. Masculine nouns end with -o for singular, -i for plural (ragazzo – ragazzi); 2. He is a tutor of Italian language and culture. Conversely, there are other nouns that refer to women, even though they are grammatically considered the male gender: il soprano, il mezzosoprano, il contralto. When you start learning Italian grammar, you’ll hear one concept often: Everything in Italian must agree in gender and number. In these instances, the agreement of words that refer to the noun should take into account the grammatical gender: La sentinella è attenta.The sentinel is attentive. Most Italian nouns (i nomi) end in a vowel. Masculine nouns to memorize include: Nouns ending -ione are generally feminine, while nouns ending in -ore are almost always masculine, as demonstrated by the examples in this table. All nouns in Italian have a gender ; that is, they are either masculine or feminine, even those referring to things, qualities, or ideas. In order to know the gender of a noun, you only have to check its ending. In Italian, the gender of a noun can be maschile (masculine) or femminile (feminine). There is a third category of gender-neutral nouns that end with -e for singular and -ifor plural. Usually, Italians will still be able to understand you, so just focus on expressing yourself and don’t worry about having perfect grammar. When nouns end with -o, it is usually masculine: 1. il bambino(baby) Some nouns that end with -eare also masculine: 1. il professore(professor) 2. il padre(father) 3. il cane(dog) 4. il pane(bread) 5. il dottore(doctor) An ending of -a can indicate a masculine noun as well. By using ThoughtCo, you accept our, Formation of Italian Plural Nouns Ending in -O, Italian Indefinite Articles - Articoli Indeterminativi, Adjectives in Italian: Form and Agreement, Italian Direct Object Pronouns With Passato Prossimo, When to Use the Partitive Article in Italian, Conjugating Italian Verbs in the Passive Tense, Un caffè (one coffee) = due caffè (two coffees), Un film (one movie) = due film (two movies), Una foto (one photo) = due foto (two photos). The general rule is that nouns ending in “-o” are masculine and nouns ending in “-a” are feminine. Besides experience and consulting the dictionary, there are two elements that can help determine the gender of a noun: the significance and the ending of the word. THE GENDER OF NOUNS IN ITALIAN. 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. 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. And by following some simple rules, you can learn to classify the great majority of Italian nouns. Definite Articles Il and Lo in Early Italian, Italian Ordinal Numbers and Numerical Rank, The Gender of Countries in the German Language, 10 Common Errors In Italian Usage: Italian Grammar Mistakes, Learn About German Plural Nouns With -n and -en endings, M.A., Italian Studies, Middlebury College. (not arrivati).The recruits arrived. However, there is not always a correspondence between "grammar" gender and "natural" gender. Italian nouns almost always end with a vowel. The goal of learning a foreign language will always be connection instead of perfection. Almost every Italian noun ends with a vowel except some nouns, which come from other languages, and can finish with a consonant. In Italian, the gender of a noun can be maschile (masculine) or femminile (feminine). In Italian, common and proper nouns can be feminine or masculine, singular or plural. You can opt-out at any time. Cher Hale is the founder of The Iceberg Project, a language-learning platform for students of the Italian language. According to the meaning, the following are masculine: According to the meaning, the following are feminine: Depending on the ending, the following are masculine: Nouns ending in -e, unless they belong to certain classes of suffixes (-zione, -tore, -ite), can be either gender: il ponte, l'amore, il fiume, il dente; la mente, la fame, la notte, la chiave. Il soprano è bravo. Examples of -a endings include -ma, -ista and -a: 1. il problemma(problem) 2. il tema(theme) 3. il cinema(theater) 4. il sistema(system) 5. il programma(program) 6. il clima(climate) 7. l’artista(artist) 8. il dentista(dentist) 9. il giornalista(journal… Grammatical “gender” is really just a way of classifying nouns. They can either be masculine or feminine, according to the context of the sentence. All nouns have a Gender. Generally, singular nouns ending in -o are masculine while nouns ending in -a are feminine. For the nouns of things (both concrete and abstract) the distinction between genere maschile or genere femminile is purely conventional; only with use over time have words such as abito, fiume, and clima been assigned the masculine gender, while others such as cenere, sedia, crisi have been established as 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.

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