Plural Nouns in Italian

Learn how to make nouns plural in Italian

Wine bottles in Val d'Orcia
Wine bottles in Val d'Orcia. Atlantide Phototravel / Getty Images

When you have just one “bottiglia di vino - bottle of wine” (especially from one of the many family-run vineyards in Tuscany), you’re doing pretty good, so when you have “bottiglie di vino - bottles of wine”, you should be ecstatic.

What makes a noun like “bottle”, something singular, become “bottles”, a word that’s plural, in Italian, and why does it matter?

When you’re putting all of the pieces of Italian grammar together, it’s essential to know that everything has to agree not only in gender (masculine or feminine), but also in number (singular and plural).

How do you form the plural?

When forming the plural of Italian nouns, the vowel endings change to indicate a change in number. For regular masculine nouns that end in -o, the ending typically changes to -i in the plural.

The table below includes a few nouns to start with:

PLURAL FORMS OF ITALIAN MASCULINE NOUNS ENDING IN -O

SINGULARPLURALENGLISH (PLURAL)
fratellofratellibrothers
librolibribooks
nonnononnigrandparents
ragazzoragazziboys
vinoviniwines

 

Regular feminine nouns that end in -a generally take on -e endings in the plural.

PLURAL FORMS OF ITALIAN FEMININE NOUNS ENDING IN -A

SINGULARPLURALENGLISH (PLURAL)
sorellasorellesisters
casacasehouses
pennapennepens
pizzapizzepizzas
ragazzaragazzegirls

 

When forming the plural of nouns ending in a consonant, such as words of foreign origin, only the article changes:

  • il film → i film

  • la photo → le photo

  • Il bar --> I bar

Here are some exceptions to the rule for forming plurals:

  • Feminine-noun ending -ea changes to -ee in the plural. For example: dea/dee (goddess/goddesses).

  • Words that end with a grave accent, like “la città” only have a change in the article, making it “le città”.

  • Feminine-noun ending -ca changes to -che in the plural. For example: amica/amiche (friend/friends). Remember that -che is pronounced as "keh" in Italian.

    Finally, be aware that some nouns end in -e.

    The plural forms of these nouns will end in -i (regardless of whether these nouns are masculine or feminine).

    PLURAL FORMS OF ITALIAN NOUNS ENDING IN -E

    SINGULARPLURALENGLISH (PLURAL)
    bicchierebicchieriwine glasses
    chiavechiavikeys
    fiumefiumirivers
    frasefrasisentences
    padrepadrifathers

     

      

    Sometimes there wil be nouns that appear to be feminine (ending in -a), but are actually masculine.

    Here are a handful of those to take note of:

    • Il poeta → i poeti / poet → poets

    • Il poema → i poemi / poem → poems

    • Il problema → i problemi / problem → problems

    • Il tema → i temi / topic → topics

    • Il braccio → le braccia / arm → arms

    • Il dito → le dita / finger → fingers

    • Il labbro → le labbra / lip → lips

    • Il ginocchio → le ginocchia / knee → knees

    • Il lenzuolo → le lenzuola / sheet → sheets

    • Il muro → I muri / wall → walls  (also le mura: when talking about buildings or historical buildings)