Menu Chiudi

Italian Nouns: Gender and Number

Understanding the gender and number of nouns is a fundamental aspect of Italian grammar. Unlike English, every noun in Italian has a gender and can be either singular or plural. This article will guide you through the basic rules and provide examples to help you master Italian nouns.

Gender of Nouns

In Italian, nouns are either masculine or feminine. The gender of a noun often affects the form of other words in a sentence, such as articles and adjectives. Here are some general rules to identify the gender:

Masculine Nouns:

  • Nouns ending in -o are usually masculine.
    • Example: libro (book)
  • Nouns ending in -e can be masculine or feminine, but many are masculine.
    • Example: fiore (flower)

Feminine Nouns:

  • Nouns ending in -a are usually feminine.
    • Example: casa (house)
  • Nouns ending in -ione or -ice are typically feminine.
    • Example: nazione (nation), notizia (news)


  • Some nouns ending in -e can be either masculine or feminine and must be memorized.
    • Example: insegnante (teacher) can be both masculine and feminine.

Number of Nouns

Italian nouns change their endings to indicate whether they are singular or plural. Here are the basic rules for forming plurals:

Masculine Nouns:

  • Singular nouns ending in -o change to -i in the plural.
    • Example: libro (book) -> libri (books)
  • Singular nouns ending in -e change to -i in the plural.
    • Example: fiore (flower) -> fiori (flowers)

Feminine Nouns:

  • Singular nouns ending in -a change to -e in the plural.
    • Example: casa (house) -> case (houses)
  • Singular nouns ending in -e change to -i in the plural.
    • Example: notte (night) -> notti (nights)

Articles and Nouns

The definite and indefinite articles in Italian also change according to the gender and number of the nouns they accompany.

Definite Articles:

  • Singular:il (masculine), la (feminine)
    • Example: il libro (the book), la casa (the house)
  • Plural:i (masculine), le (feminine)
    • Example: i libri (the books), le case (the houses)

Indefinite Articles:

  • Singular:un (masculine), una (feminine)
    • Example: un libro (a book), una casa (a house)
  • There are no plural forms for indefinite articles.


Here are some examples to illustrate the rules:

  • Singular to Plural:
    • Masculine:
      • libro -> libri (book -> books)
      • fiore -> fiori (flower -> flowers)
    • Feminine:
      • casa -> case (house -> houses)
      • notte -> notti (night -> nights)
  • Using Articles:
    • Masculine:
      • il ragazzo -> i ragazzi (the boy -> the boys)
      • un ragazzo -> dei ragazzi (a boy -> some boys)
    • Feminine:
      • la ragazza -> le ragazze (the girl -> the girls)
      • una ragazza -> delle ragazze (a girl -> some girls)

Summary Table: Gender and Number of Italian Nouns

Masculine NounsEnd in -olibro (book)
End in -efiore (flower)
Feminine NounsEnd in -acasa (house)
End in -ione or -icenazione (nation), notizia (news)
Plural FormationMasculine Singular ending in -o to -ilibro -> libri (book -> books)
Masculine Singular ending in -e to -ifiore -> fiori (flower -> flowers)
Feminine Singular ending in -a to -ecasa -> case (house -> houses)
Feminine Singular ending in -e to -inotte -> notti (night -> nights)
Definite ArticlesMasculine Singular: ilil libro (the book)
Feminine Singular: lala casa (the house)
Masculine Plural: ii libri (the books)
Feminine Plural: lele case (the houses)
Indefinite ArticlesMasculine Singular: unun libro (a book)
Feminine Singular: unauna casa (a house)
Masculine Plural: deidei libri (some books)
Feminine Plural: delledelle case (some houses)