Feminine nouns ending in –ca and –ga
Feminine nouns ending in –ca and –ga form their plural in –che and -ghe to retain the hard "c" or "g" sound.
la banca (the bank) / le banche (the banks)
la riga (the ruler) / le righe (the rulers)
Masculine nouns ending in –go
Masculine nouns ending in –go form their plural in -ghi to retain the hard "g" sound.
il lago (the lake) / i laghi (the lakes)
il mago (the magician) / i maghi (the magicians)
- Exceptions are masculine nouns ending in –ologo indicating a profession form their plural in –ologi.
lo psicologo (psychologist) / gli psicologi (psychologists)
il biologo (the biologist) / i biologi (the biologists)
Masculine nouns ending in –co
If the stress falls right before the –co, then the plural is -chi.
il banco (the desk) – i banchi (the desks)
Exceptions to the rule are the nouns amico (amici), nemico (nemici), Greco (Greci) and porco (porci) which all form the plural using –ci even though the stress falls right before the –co.
In other cases the plural is –ci:
il sindaco (the mayor) – i sindaci (the mayors)
Nouns ending in –io, -cia, -gia
Nouns ending in –io, -cia, -gia will drop the –i in the plural form unless it is stressed.
il bagaglio (the piece of luggage) / i bagagli (the pieces of luggage)
la provincia (province) / le province (provinces)
la spiaggia (beach) – le spiagge (beaches)
Stressed –i :
la farmacia (the pharmacy) / le farmacie (the pharmacies)
la bugia (the lie) / le bugie (the lies)
lo zio (uncle) / gli zii (uncles or "aunts and uncles")
- Note - the plural of masculine nouns is also used for a group that consist of at least one male and any number of females.
Nouns invariable in the plural
Nouns ending in –i, -ie:
la serie (the series) / le serie (the series)
la crisi (the crisis) / le crisi (the crisis)
Exception to the rule – la moglie (wife) / le mogli (wives)
Nouns ending in an accent:
la città (the city) / le città (the cities)
la società (the company) / le società (the companies)
il caffè (the coffee) / i caffè (the coffees)
il tè (the tea) / i tè (the teas)
Nouns of one syllable:
il re (the king) / i re (the kings)
la gru (the crane) / le gru (the cranes)
-Luca- wrote:The only English word used in the Italian language that allows the plural is "fan".
Brad Pitt ha un fan.
Brad Pitt ha molti fans.
il computer (computer) / i computer (computers)
il film (film) / i film (films)
The gender of foreign words is determined in one of two ways. If the word comes from a language that distinguishes gender it maintains the same gender in Italian, ex., la brochure (French.), la brochure (Italian). For languages that don’t distinguish gender it takes the gender of a related Italian word, ex., business class (English), la business class (Italian – based on “la classe”). Another way to determine gender is to base it on category: “Il New York Times” based on the Italian word for newspaper “(il) giornale” but this isn’t always full proof.
Masculine nouns that become feminine in the plural
l'uovo (the egg) / le uova (the eggs)
il miglio (the mile) / le miglia (the miles)
il paio (the pair) / le paia (the pairs)
Masculine nouns that can become masculine or feminine in the plural
Some masculine nouns have two plural endings: one is a regular masculine plural, while the other is an irregular plural ending in –a. In general, one of the plurals keeps the original meaning and the other takes on a different (often metaphorical) meaning. Some of these nouns (many of which refer to body parts) include:
il braccio (the arm of something including human) / i bracci (the arms of a lamp; the arms of a cross); le braccia (human arms)
il ciglio (eyelash; border; side) / i cigli (sides of a road, etc.) / le ciglia (eyelashes)
il fondamento (foundation; fundamental) / i fondamenti (fundamentals of a science, etc.); le fondamenta (foundations of buildings, etc.)
il membro (member of something; limb) / i membri (committee member, family member, etc.); le membra (limbs / body parts)
l’osso (bone) / gli ossi (bones for a dog); le ossa (human bones)
il muro (wall) / i muri (walls of a house); le mura (walls of a city)
il labbro (lip of the mouth or object) / i labbri (brim or edge of a vase, etc.); le labbra (lips of the mouth)
Nouns completely irregular in the plural
l'ala (the wing) / le ali (the wings)
l'arma (the weapon) / le armi (the weapons)
il bue (the ox) / i buoi (the oxen)
il tempio (the temple) / i templi (the temples)
la moglie (the wife) / le mogli (the wives)
l'uomo (the man) / gli uomini (the men)
il dio (the god) / gli dèi (the gods)
- Not that gli is used with dèi in the plural.