Formation of Italian Plural Nouns Ending in -O

Formazione del Plurale: Nomi in -O

Making nouns ending in O plural
Camilla Bandeira

Italian singular nouns that end in -o form the plural by changing the ending to -i:

 

bambino—bambini

impiegato—impiegati

sasso—sassi

coltello—coltelli

The plural of the noun uomo is also formed with -i, but with a change in the ending: uomini. Of the few female nouns that end in -o, some remain unchanged in the plural; mano usually becomes mani; eco, which in the singular is feminine, is always masculine in the plural: gli echi.

  • Nouns in -co and -go do not follow a consistent behavior in forming the plural. If there is a pattern to speak of, the nouns maintain the velar consonants /k/ and /g/, and end in -chi and -ghi. However, if the nouns are sdruccioli (stressed on the third-to-last syllable of a word), instead, drop the velar consonants /k/ and /g/ and add the palatal sounds -ci and -gi:

baco—bachi

cuoco—cuochi

fungo—funghi

albergo—alberghi

medico—medici

sindaco—sindaci

teologo—teologi

ornitologo—ornitologi

Among nouns that behave differently from the conventional pattern are:

nemico—nemici

amico—amici

greco—greci

porco—porci

Among nouns that are pronounced with the stress on the third-to-last syllable, there are many more exceptions:

carico—carichi

incarico—incarichi

abbaco—abbachi

valico—valichi

pizzico—pizzichi

strascico—strascichi

dialogo—dialoghi

catalogo—cataloghi

obbligo—obblighi

prologo—prologhi

epilogo—epiloghi

profugo—profughi

Finally, some nouns have both forms:

chirurgo—chirugi, chirurghi

farmaco—farmaci, farmachi

manico—manici, manichi

stomaco—stomaci, stomachi

sarcofago—sarcofagi, sarcofaghi

intonaco—intonaci, intonachi

 

Nouns ending in -ìo (with a stressed i) form regular plurals ending in -ìi:

zìo—zìi

pendìo—pendìi

rinvìo—rinvìi

mormorìo—mormorìi

NOTE: dìo becomes dèi in the plural.

  • Nouns ending in -ìo (with an unstressed i) lose the i of the stem in the plural, therefore ending in -i:

viaggio—viaggi

figlio—figli

coccio—cocci

raggio—raggi

bacio—baci

giglio—gigli

NOTE: tempio becomes templi in the plural.

Some nouns that end in -io in the singular, in the plural may be confused with other plurals of the same spelling; to avoid ambiguity are sometimes used, such as an accent on the stressed syllable, a circumflex accent on the ending, or on the final double i:

osservatorio—osservatori, osservatòri, osservatorî, osservatorii

osservatore—osservatori, osservatóri

principio—principi, princìpi, principî, principii

principe—principi, prìncipi

arbitrio—arbitri, arbìtri, arbitrî, arbitrii

arbitro—arbitri, àrbitri

assassinio—assassini, assassinî, assassinii

assassino—assassini

omicidio—omicidi, omicidî, omicidii

omicida—omicidi

Today the tendency is to write a single i without diacritical marks: the general meaning of the sentence usually resolves any doubt.

Some nouns ending in -o, which in the singular are masculine, in the plural become feminine grammatical gender and take the ending -a:

il centinaio—le centinaia

il migliaio—le migliaia

il miglio—le miglia

il paio—le paia

l'uovo—le uova

il riso (il ridere)—le risa

The table below summarizes the formation of the plural for Italian nouns ending in -o:

PLURALE DEI NOMI IN -O

 

SINGOLARE

PLURALE

 

 

maschile

femminile

-o

-i

-i

-co, -go (parole piane)

-chi, -ghi

 

-co, -go (parole sdruccioli)

-ci, -gì

 

-io (stressed i)

-ìi

 

-io (unstressed i)

-i

 

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Filippo, Michael San. "Formation of Italian Plural Nouns Ending in -O." ThoughtCo, Jan. 26, 2017, thoughtco.com/italian-plural-nouns-ending-in-o-2011411. Filippo, Michael San. (2017, January 26). Formation of Italian Plural Nouns Ending in -O. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/italian-plural-nouns-ending-in-o-2011411 Filippo, Michael San. "Formation of Italian Plural Nouns Ending in -O." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/italian-plural-nouns-ending-in-o-2011411 (accessed January 23, 2018).