Adjectives a very important part of a language and are used to describe things. In Italian, adjectives must be adapted to gender and number. In addition, there are two groups of adjectives that have different declinations. Let’s see together the main rules regarding Italian adjectives.
What is an adjective
An adjective is a word that describes a noun, such as a person, an animal or a thing. Adjectives can describe many characteristics, such as the shape (rotondo round), the color (rosso red), the size (grande large), feelings (allegro cheerful) and so on.
In Italian there are two adjective groups, depending on their ending vowel: O adjectives and E adjectives.
O and E adjectives have different declination patterns. Let’s learn how they behave!
Adjectives ending with O have four forms, varying according to gender (masculine/singular) and number (singular/plural).
|o > a||il libro piccolo|
the small book
|i libri piccoli|
|a > e||la casa piccola|
the small house
|le case piccole|
Some common O adjectives
*Only if bello and buono are placed after the noun:
Il tuo cane è bello. Your dog is beautiful.
Il caffè è buono. The coffee is good.
If they are placed before the noun, they behave differently:
Hai un bel cane. You have a beautiful dog.
Bevo un buon caffè. I drink a good coffee.
This is a topic for another lesson 🙂
Adjectives ending with -e have only two forms, varying only according to number (singular/plural).
|e > i||il libro | la casa grande|
the big book | house
|i libri | le case grandi|
big books | houses
Some common E adjectives
Nouns and adjectives
If you compare the declination of nouns (we’ve learned it here) and adjectives you’ll notice they behave the same way:
|o > i||Noun |
|a > e||Noun |
|e > i||Noun|
It looks very easy, but you should pay attention when you have nouns and adjectives that belong to different groups, because in that cases you’ll have different endings.
|Il tuo cane è piccolo o grande?||Is your dog small or big?|
|Le bambine sono allegre e felici.||The girls are cheerful and happy.|
|Mangio una fragola piccola e dolce.||I eat a small and sweet strawberry|
|Le foglie autunnali sono rosse, gialle, arancioni e marroni.||The autumn leaves are red, yellow, orange and brown.|