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Post by Peter »

(La formazione degli aggettivi)

In this first part of this lesson, we explain the basic formation of adjectives as well as looking at those that end -co, -ca, -go, -ga. In Part 2 we look at the formation of adjectives that end –ista, -asta, -ita, -ida, -ota and also -io. In Part 3 we explain about the formation of adjectives using prepositions, past participles of verbs and also adjectives that are invariable in gender and number. Note that we cover the formation of quello in Lesson L06 Demonstrative Adjectives.

1. Basic formation of adjectives

Essentially, an adjective must agree in number and gender with both the article, whether definite or indefinite, and the noun. There are two classes of adjectives.

a) Class 1

This is the more common class of adjectives, taking the regular endings, as follows:

Masculine singular: -o

Examples: buono; favoloso; pericoloso; cattivo; merviglioso

Masculine plural: -i

Examples: buoni; favolosi; pericolosi; cattivi; meravigliosi

Feminine singular: -a

Examples: buona; favolosa; pericolosa; cattiva; merivigliosa

Feminine plural: -e

Examples: buone; favolose; pericolose; cattive; meravigliose

b) Class 2

This less common class consist of adjectives that end in –e, whether they take either masculine or feminine gender. All such adjectives take the masculine plural ending –i. They include many adjectives of nationality.


grande - grandi
interessante - interessanti
inglese – inglesi
scozzese - scozzesi

There are other types of adjectives, the formation of which we explain in this Lesson. The exceptions are those where a preposition is used. These are covered in a separate Lesson.

2. Formation of the plural of adjectives ending -co, -ca, -go, -ga

The formation of the plural of adjectives with these endings is exactly the same as applies to nouns.

Adjectives ending in –co

a) Where the stress is on the penultimate (ie next-to-last) syllable, for the plural you must insert the letter h before the final i


Singular: poco (few, a little, not much): Plural: pochi
Singular: antico (old, ancient, antique): Plural: antichi

There are few wines that I do not like!
Ci sono pochi vini che non mi piacciono!

That street has many old buildings
Quella strada ha molti edifici antichi

An exception to this rule is greco (Greek), where the plural is greci.

b) Where the stress is on the third to last syllable, there is no need for an h


Singular: simpatico (nice): Plural: simpatici
Singular: specifico (specific, particular): Plural: specifici

Those brothers are nice guys
Quei fratelli sono tipi simpatici

The specific items have not yet arrived
Gli articolo specifici non sono ancora arrivati

Feminine adjectives ending in –ca and -ga

The plural of such adjectives ending –ca and -ga end -che and -ghe no matter where the stress appears


Singular: poca (few, a little, not much): Plural: poche
Singular: simpatica (nice): Plural: simpatiche
Singular: larga (wide): Plural: larghe

There were few opportunities to discuss the problems
C’erano poche opportunità a discutere i problemi

The ladies were very nice and treated me as if I were one of the family
Le signore erano molte simpatiche e mi trattavano come se io fosse uno della famiglia

The town is known for its wide streets
La città è conosciuta per le sue strade larghe

Ending –go

For the plural of all adjectives that end in –go you must insert an h before the final i.


Singular: largo (wide): Plural: larghi

Lake Garda is very wide at its southern end
Lago di Garda è molto largo al suo fondo meridionale

Because there were three lorries with wide loads ahead of us all, we were able to go only very slowly
Perché c’erano tre camion con carichi larghi davanti a noi tutti, riuscivamo ad andare solo molto lentamente

An exception to this rule is belgo (Belgian), where the plural is belgi.

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