How do you turn one duckling into many? You might not like the answer:
There, I said it.
Did you shudder?
Many language learners do exactly that when they hear this word.
Until they learn that grammar is much friendlier than they believed it to be.
Language learners seem to make grammar a scapegoat but that’s definitely unnecessary. Grammar gives us a set of rules for how to navigate a language. It tells us exactly how to treat words, phrases, punctuation and all the rest.
Grammar is our friend. No, I’m not kidding!
If you want to speak, read and write Italian you’ll need to nail down the Italian grammar basics.
One of the biggest basic rules for learning this incredibly beautiful language is learning how to make nouns plural in Italian.
Yes, I realize that might seem to be a daunting task, especially if you’re a beginner learner but believe me, it’s not.
There’s a concise set of rules for turning singular nouns to plural nouns.
Let’s check those rules out!
Understanding Italian Nouns
An Italian noun can be either masculine or feminine, depending on the item it identifies.
We know which gender the noun is by its ending. Masculine nouns usually end in –o and feminine nouns usually end in –a.
Italian nouns can also be singular or plural, depending on the number of items a noun identifies.
A noun’s ending changes when it goes from singular to plural. The ending vowel is replaced by another vowel in order to make it plural.
So, with a quick look at the way a noun ends, we know whether it’s masculine, feminine, singular or plural.
The rules for making those singular nouns plural are—trust me—very uncomplicated!
Some Practice Resources to Help Solidify Your Italian Pluralizing Skills
The core grammar rules regarding taking Italian nouns from the singular to plural form will be discussed in this post. They really are pretty standard and once you use them a few times you’ll hardly even think about why you change a noun’s ending. You’ll just do it automatically!
However, like any component of language learning, practice is essential. Fortunately there are some excellent practice resources that can help you solidify this one grammar topic with little effort—and, believe it or not, a lot of fun!
Italy Heritage provides a fun, quick-paced fill–in self–test that’s a super way to practice turning Italian nouns from singular to plural.
The words are random—masculine, feminine and even rule exceptions all appear. This is a nice way to get some extra vocabulary practice in and add to an existing vocabulary list!
Learners are given the option of either having the solutions hidden or in view. A good tip is to fill in the ones you’re confident about with the solutions hidden. Then, if necessary, check the solution list to learn the more difficult noun changes.
It’s one thing to learn the rules of changing singular nouns to plural nouns, but part of really learning a language involves being exposed to the language. It’ll be important for you to hear both the singular and plural variations of Italian nouns being spoken by native Italian speakers in order to best prepare you to obtain fluency and oral competency.
FluentU takes a step back from the traditional textbook approach and encourages you to learn the Italian language in a more natural way. In addition to providing videos, FluentU also offers downloadable audio dialogues and transcripts to use later when you’re offline.
Plus, the program provides plenty of tools which can be used to actively practice your Italian vocabulary and grammar, like multimedia flashcards, running vocabulary lists and more.
These interactive exercises are a solid way to practice changing Italian nouns from singular to plural.
The answers are available immediately so you can check your work. Also, this site includes the exceptions to the basic rules so it’s worth checking out to get exposure to those nouns.
This engaging, informative video covers a lot of ground in a short amount of time. Review the rules with this fast lesson!
Get ready to be entertained. Professor Dave teaches with flair! Also, the video uses colorful graphics that make this subject very clear.
Wondering How to Make Nouns Plural in Italian? Look No Further!
Feminine nouns end in –a.
To make a singular feminine noun plural, drop the –a and insert a –e instead.
Also, change the la (the) to le (the).
Let’s see how that works:
La strada (The street) → Le strade (The streets)
La strada è pulita. (The street is clean.)
Le strade sono pulite. (The streets are clean.)
A few more examples of common feminine nouns:
La forma (The shape) → Le forme (The shapes)
La cosa (The thing) → Le cose (The things)
La chiesa (The church) → Le chiese (The churches)
La mela (The apple) → Le mele (The apples)
La scarpa (The shoe) → Le scarpe (The shoes)
Notice that pulita (clean) also changes to agree with the noun becoming plural. Pulita (clean) becomes pulite (clean), its plural feminine form.
Masculine nouns end in –o.
When they change from singular to plural, their vowel endings become –i.
Il libro (The book) → I libri (The books)
Il libro è sulla sedia. (The book is on the chair.)
I libri sono sulla sedia. (The books are on the chair.)
Notice that il (the) becomes i (the) when the noun becomes plural. Remember, everything in Italian agrees: feminine or masculine, singular or plural.
Some examples of common masculine nouns:
Il conto (The bill) → I conti (The bills)
Il testo (The text) → I testi (The texts)
Il gruppo (The group) → I gruppi (The groups)
Il treno (The train) → I treni (The trains)
Il letto (The bed) → I letti (The beds)
Exception to the Rules for Nouns Ending in –go and –ga
Nouns that end in –go change to –ghi.
When a singular masculine noun ends in –go it takes on –ghi when it becomes plural.
Il lago (The lake) → I laghi (The lakes)
Il lago è grande. (The lake is big.)
I laghi sono grandi. (The lakes are big.)
Nouns that end in –ga change to –ghe.
When a singular feminine noun ends in –ga it takes on –ghe in its plural state.
La strega (The witch) → Le streghe (The witches)
La strega è alta e magra. (The witch is tall and thin.)
Le streghe sono alte e magre. (The witches are tall and thin.)
Exception to the Rules for Nouns Ending in –co and –ca
Nouns that end in –co change to –ci.
When a singular masculine noun ends in –co it takes on –ci when it becomes plural.
L’amico (the friend) → gli amici (The friends)
L’amico è divertente. (The friend is funny.)
Gli amici sono divertenti. (The friends are funny.)
Nouns that end in –ca change to –che.
When a singular feminine noun ends in –ca it takes on –che in its plural state.
La mia amica è dolce. (My friend is sweet.)
Le amiche sono dolci. (The friends are sweet.)
It doesn’t have to be something to avoid. It’s an essential part of any language learning adventure.
But it’s true that in every language—including Italian—some grammar topics can be intimidating. They can make even hearty language learners tremble.
This one isn’t one of those knee–shaking topics.
Turning nouns from singular to plural in Italian is a snap with these straightforward rules.
Memorize the rules and put in some practice time to get this grammar topic under your belt.
Don’t delay with this one. Learning how to take nouns from singular to plural means that you’ll be able to talk about more ideas, people, things and places than ever. Your communication skills will grow—and that’s the point of learning Italian, isn’t it?
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