Easy Learning Italian

Making nouns plural - Easy Learning Grammar Italian

  • There are two main ways of making nouns plural in Italian. In most cases you change the ending, but in a few cases the same form as the singular is used. There are also some plurals which are irregular.

1  Nouns which you make plural by changing the ending

  • In English you usually make nouns plural by adding –s. In Italian you usually do
    it by changing the ending from one vowel to another:
  • Change the –o, –a or –e ending of masculine nouns to –i. Nearly all masculine plurals end in –i.
–oun annoone year
due annitwo years
un ragazzoone boy
due ragazzitwo boys
–aun ciclistaa (male) cyclist
due ciclistitwo cyclists
un problemaa problem
molti problemilots of problems
–eun meseone month
due mesitwo months
un francesea Frenchman
due francesitwo Frenchmen
  • Change the –a ending of feminine nouns to –e.
una settimanaone week
due settimanetwo weeks
una ragazzaone girl
due ragazzetwo girls
  • Change the –e ending of feminine nouns to –i.
un’inglesean Englishwoman
due inglesitwo Englishwomen
la vitethe vine
le vitithe vines

2  Nouns you do not change in the plural

  • You do not change feminine nouns ending in –à. You show that they are
    plural by using the plural word for
    the, adjectives in the plural, and so on.
la cittàthe city
le città the cities
grandi cittàgreat cities
la loro universitàtheir university
le loro universitàtheir universities
  • You do not change words ending in a consonant, which are often words borrowed from English and other languages.
il filmthe film
i filmthe films
il managerthe manager
i managerthe managers
il computerthe computer
i computerthe computers
la Jeep®the Jeep®
le Jeep®the Jeeps®

3  Nouns with irregular plurals

  • A small number of common masculine nouns take the ending –a in the plural.
il ditothe finger
le ditathe fingers
un uovoan egg
le uovathe eggs
il lenzuolothe sheet
le lenzuolathe sheets
Note that the plural of uomo (meaning man) is uomini. The plural of la mano (meaning hand) is le mani.
  • All nouns ending in –ca and –ga add an h before the plural ending.
Singular Plural
amica(female) friendamiche(female) friends
bucaholebucheholes
rigaline righelines
vanga spade vanghespades
  • Some nouns ending in –co and –go also add an h before the plural ending.
Note that there are many exceptions: the plurals of amico (meaning friend)
and
psicologo (meaning psychologist) are amici and psicologi.
  • For more information on Italian spelling rules, see Spelling.

4  Plural or singular?

  • Bear in mind that some words are plural in Italian but singular in English.
i miei capellimy hair
gli affaribusiness
le notiziethe news
consigliadvice
i mobilithe furniture
sciocchezzenonsense
Note that you use the singular of some of these words to refer to a piece of something.
un mobilea piece of furniture
un consiglioa piece of advice
una notiziaa piece of news
TipAn important word that is singular in Italian but plural in English is la gente (meaning people). Remember to use a singular verb with la gente.
È gente molto simpatica.They’re very nice people.
Grammar Extra!When nouns are made by combining two words, such as pescespada (meaning swordfish), or capolavoro (meaning masterpiece), the plural is often not formed according to the usual rules. You can check by looking in a dictionary.
Key points
  • You can make most Italian nouns plural by changing their ending from one vowel to another.
  • Some nouns are the same in the plural as in the singular.
  • Some nouns which are singular in English are plural in Italian.

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