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  • Italian in Thirty Short Lessons
    Italiano in Trenta Brevi Lezioni
    by Giancarlo v. Nacher Malvaioli

    Third Lesson
    Lezione Terza

    GENRE AND PLURAL OF NOUNS AND ADJECTIVES
    GENERE (GEnere) E PLURALE DEI NOMI E AGGETTIVI

    • Singular nouns and adjectives that end in o are generally masculine: bambino (child), ragazzo (boy), giardino (garden), cugino (cousin), fidanzato (fiancé), and their plurals change the o into i: bambini (children), ragazzi (boys), giardini (gardens), cugini (cousins), fidanzati (fiancés).
    • Singular nouns that end in a are generally feminine: bambina (little girl), ragazza (girl), cugina (female cousin), fidanzata (fiancée), and their plurals change the a into e: bambine (little girls), ragazze (girls), cugine (female cousins), fidanzate (fiancées).
    • Nouns and adjectives that end in e may be masculine or feminine, but always change the e into i in the plural: cane (m.)-(dog), nave (f.)-(ship), cece (m.)-(pea), noce (f.)-(walnut), croce (f.)-(cross), notte (f.)-(night), miele (m.)-(honey), grande (grand, big, great), ; plurals: cani, navi, ceci, noci, croci, notti, mieli.
    • In Italian there are no neuter nouns.
    • Adjectives always agree in genre and number with nouns: una casa bella or una bella casa, le case belle or le belle case (beautiful house) or houses), il lungo viale or il viale lungo, i lunghi viali or i viali lunghi (a long avenue or avenues), la strada corta, le strade corte (short road or roads), la chiesa grande, le chiese grandi (big church or churches), il bravo ragazzo, i bravi ragazzi (good boy or boys), la simpatica (simPAtica) ragazza or la ragazza simpatica (nice girl or girls), il piccolo giardino (PICcolo) or il giardino piccolo (small garden).
    • Adjectives can precede or follow the noun indistinctly in various cases, in many others they must follow the noun, and in other sentences the meaning is different if the adjective precedes or follows the noun: examples: un pover'uomo (un POver'UOmo) means an unlucky (unfortunate) man, but un uomo povero (un UOmo POvero) means a poor man, un grand'uomo (grand'UOmo) means a great man, but un uomo grande (un UOmo grande) means an aged man.
    • The monosyllables, the acute words and the foreign words don't change in the plural; examples: il re, i re (the king-the kings), il gas, i gas (the gas, the gases), il sandwich, i sandwich (the sandwich, the sandwiches), la città, le città (the city, the cities), la virtù, le virtù (the virtue, the virtues), il termos, i termos (the thermos bottle, the thermos bottles), il garage, i garage, (the garage, the garages), l'hotel, gli hotel (the hotel, the hotels).
    There are many exceptions, for example some words have an irregular plural as: l'uomo-gli uomini (l'UOmo-gli UOmini)- (man-men), or those that are masculine in singular and feminine in the plural as: il braccio-le braccia (arm -arms), il labbro -le labbra (lip-lips), il dito-le dita (finger-fingers), etc.

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