Italian Nouns

Nouns are words used to name or identify a person, animal, place, thing, or idea. Examples include: girl, hat, coat, weather, picture, coffee, hotel.

Nouns are one of the most basic parts of speech They can occur as the main word in the subject of a clause, the object of a verb, or the object of a preposition. Italian nouns are divided in common, nomi comuni, and proper, nomi propri.

So this free lesson is all about naming things. By the time you're done you'll know all about common and proper nouns, as well as how to identify masculine and feminine versions. You'll also discover the mysterious third category of nouns.

How to pronounce Italian Nouns

Here are some of the most basic Italian nouns to get you started. Further on in this lesson we will look at the pronunciation of these and more Italian nouns.

  • Ragazzo - Kid
  • Dottore  - Doctor
  • Cane - Dog
  • Fiume - River
  • Bellezza - Beauty
  • Speranza  - Hope
  • Giustizia - Justice
  • Tavolo - Table
  • Museo - Museum
  • Libro - Book

Let's get started...

Common and Proper Italian nouns

nomi comuni

common noun

nomi propri

proper noun

Nomi comuni indicate persons, animals, places, things like ragazzo - kid, dottore - doctor, cane - dog, fiume - river, or abstract ideas like bellezza - beauty, speranza - hope, giustizia - justice, etc.

ragazzo

kid

dottore

doctor

cane

dog

fiume

river

bellezza

beauty

speranza

hope

giustizia

justice

The nomi propri indicate specific beings or things, which are characterized by a proper name: Italia, Roma, Paolo, Marco, etc. Nouns can be divided also for genre, masculine and feminine, and number, singular and plural.

Italia

Italy

Roma

Rome

Paolo

Paolo

Marco

Marco

    Most of the nouns agree with the following rules:
  • Masculine nouns end with –o for singular, -i for plural.
  • Feminine nouns end with –a for singular, -e for plural.
  • A third category of nouns end with –e for singular, -i for plural; they can be masculine or feminine, according to the vocabulary.

Regular Italian Nouns: rules and examples

Masculine nouns ending with –o (singular)

tavolo

table

museo

museum

libro

book

coro

chorus

corpo

body

cielo

sky

appartamento

apartment

suono

sound

Masculine nouns ending with –i (plural)

tavoli

tables

musei

museums

libri

books

cori

choruses

corpi

bodies

cieli

skies

appartamenti

apartments

suoni

sounds

Feminine nouns ending with –a (singular)

casa

house

finestra

window

sedia

chair

strada

street

maglietta

t-shirt

testa

head

fotografia

photo

penna

pen

Feminine nouns ending with –e (plural)

case

houses

finestre

windows

sedie

chairs

strade

streets

magliette

t-shirts

teste

heads

fotografie

photos

penne

pens

Third Case nouns ending with –e (singular).

These can be masculine or feminine, according to the vocabulary.

bicchiere (M)

glass

studente (M)

student

ristorante (M)

restaurant

fiume (M)

river

luce (F)

light

nube (F)

cloud

mese (M)

month

ape (F)

bee

Third Case nouns ending with –i (plural).

These can be masculine or feminine, according to the vocabulary.

bicchieri (M)

glasses

studenti (M)

students

ristoranti (M)

restaurants

fiumi (M)

rivers

luci (F)

lights

nubi (F)

clouds

mesi (M)

months

api (F)

bees

Irregular Italian nouns: rules and examples

Many Italians nouns are irregular. Here are some examples.


1. The following nouns have the same form at singular as well as at plural:

Monosyllable nouns

re

king

Nouns ending with a vowel with accent

università

university

Foreign nouns

film

film

gol

goal

Nouns ending with –i

analisi

Analysis

Feminine nouns ending with –o

auto

Car

Masculine neologism ending with –o

euro

euro

Feminine nouns ending with –ie

specie

species

2. Masculine nouns with –ma at the singular end with –mi at the plural.

Singular

Plural

problema

problemi

problem

problems

tema

temi

thema

themas

3. Feminine nouns ending with –ca and –ga at singular end with –che and –ghe at plural

Singular

Plural

domenica

domeniche

Sunday

Sundays

collega

colleghe

colleague

colleagues (F)

4. Masculine nouns ending with –co and –go:

  • end with –chi and –ghi at plural if the accent is on the second last syllable
  • end with –ci and –gi at plural when the accent is on the third last syllable

Some words, like amico - pl. amici, or dialogo - pl. dialoghi are exceptions.

Singular

Plural

tedesco

tedeschi

German

Germans

albergo

alberghi

hotel

hotels

medico

medici

doctor

doctors

psicologo

psicologi

psychologist

psychologists

Italian nouns which seem to have a double gender

Some nouns, which have the same stem and end with –o or –a, seem to indicate the masculine or feminine version of the same word. That’s not always true; the meaning can be completely different.


Some examples:

Noun with –o ending

Noun with –a ending

corso

corsa

avenue

running

collo

colla

neck

glue

pianto

pianta

tears

plant

torto

torta

fault

cake

Italian nouns summary

  • Nouns are words that name people, things, or ideas.
  • Nouns can be divided in common name, referring to something general and not identifying a particular person, or proper name, like the names of people, places, and institutions.
  • Nouns can be masculine or feminine, singular or plural.
  • Masculine nouns end with –o at singular, –i at plural.
  • Feminine nouns end with –a at singular, –e at plural.
  • A third category of nouns end with –e at singular, –i at plural; they can be masculine or feminine, according to the vocabulary.
For more on Italian grammar check out these lessons! A presto!
Maria Di Lorenzi
Rocket Italian

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