Adjectives in Italian

Adjectives in Italian

ItalianItalian A1

Welcome to our Italian grammar course for beginners! Today we're going to talk about adjectives.

Adjectives are words that describe or modify nouns, giving more information about their qualities or characteristics. In Italian, adjectives need to agree with the nouns they modify in number and gender. This means that the ending of adjectives change based on the gender and number of the noun it refers to.

Gender Agreement

In Italian, adjectives have different forms for feminine and masculine nouns. To match the gender of the noun they refer to, adjectives follow these rules.

Masculine Adjectives

Many masculine adjectives end in -o. To change them to feminine, replace the -o with -a.
Masculine: un ragazzo bravo (a good boy)
Feminine: una ragazza brava (a good girl)

Adjectives that end in -e are the same for feminine and masculine nouns:
Feminine: una penna interessante (an interesting pen)
Masculine: un libro interessante (an interesting book)

Number Agreement

Adjectives must also agree in number with the nouns they modify. This means that if the noun is singular, the adjective should be singular too. If the noun is plural, the adjective should be plural.

Singular Adjectives

The singular form of adjectives is used with singular nouns.
La macchina rossa (the red car)
Il gatto nero (the black cat)

Plural Adjectives

The plural form of adjectives is used with plural nouns.
I gatti neri (the black cats)
Le macchine rosse (the red cars)

Placement of Adjectives

In Italian, adjectives are placed after the noun they modify. This is different from English, where adjectives often come before the noun. Here are some examples:
Un cane fedele (a loyal dog)
Una casa grande (a big house)
Delle ragazze intelligenti (some intelligent girls)
Dei ragazzi simpatici (some nice boys)

There are some adjectives that can come before the noun to emphasize or clarify a particular quality. These adjectives are often related to beauty, age, goodness, or size. Some examples include:
Un bel giorno (a beautiful day)
Un vecchio amico (an old friend)
Una buona idea (a good idea)
Un piccolo regalo (a small gift)

Irregular Adjectives

As with many languages, Italian has some irregular adjectives that do not follow the standard rules for gender or number agreement. These adjectives need to be memorized separately.
Feminine Singular to Feminine Plural:
Dolce (sweet, feminine singular) - Dolci (feminine plural)
Verde (green, feminine singular) - Verdi (feminine plural)

Comparison of Adjectives

Italian adjectives can also be used to make comparisons, just like in English. Here are the three degrees of comparison:
Positive: This is the basic form of the adjective without any comparison.
Luca è alto. (Luca is tall.)

Comparative: Used to compare two things or people.
There are two types of comparative forms:

Comparative of Equality: "così... come" (as... as):
Maria è alta come Luca. (Maria is as tall as Luca.)

Comparative of Inequality: "più... di" (more... than) or "meno... di" (less... than)
Marco è più alto di Andrea. (Marco is taller than Andrea.)

Superlative: Used to express the highest degree of a quality.
There are two types of superlative forms:

Superlative of Equality: "il più... di" (the most... of)
Maria è la più alta della classe. (Maria is the tallest in the class.)

Superlative of Inequality: "il meno... di" (the least... of)
Luca è il meno alto della squadra. (Luca is the least tall in the team.)


In this lesson you learned main features of adjectives in Italian. We hope this will help you in your further study of Italian.
Pay attention to the new words you came across in the lesson:
Bravo (good)
Interessante (interesting)
Rossa (red)
Nero (black)
Fedele (loyal)
Grande (big)
Intelligento (intelligent)
Simpatico (friendly)
Vecchio (old)
Gatto (cat)
Bello (handsome)
Buono (good)
Cattivo (bad)
Piccolo (small)
Regalo (gift)
Dolce (sweet)
Verde (green)
Alto (high)
Più (more)

We are waiting for you in the next lesson, where we will talk about common italian prepositions. Good luck!