Italian grammar: Irregular adjectives

Irregular adjectives in Italian

Improve your Italian with our online courses: Free lessons, standard groups or private lessons.
In Italian, there are four adjectives, very common, which have an irregular form when they precede the noun:

"bello" (beautiful)
"buono" (good)
"grande" (big / great)
"santo" (saint / holy)

When these adjectives follow the noun, they have the regular form (see also "the position of adjectives").

Example:
Un buon amico (a very close friend) / un amico buono (a friend who is a good person)


Let's see each one of them in detail:

1. Bello

The adjective "bello" agrees with the noun it precedes by changing the ending, following the same rules of the definite article:

MASCULINE
Singular Plural Before nouns...
Bel Bei beginning with consonant, except where we must use the adjectives "bello" and "begli".
Bello Begli beginning with: s + consonant, z and a very small number of nouns, mostly of foreign origin, beginning with: gn, ps, pn, x, i or y + another vowel.
Bell' Begli beginning with a vowel.

Examples:
Un bel ragazzo (a handsome guy), dei bei tramonti (some beautiful sunsets), un bello zaino (a nice backpack), che begli specchi! (what beautiful mirrors!), un bell'uomo (a handsome man), che begli occhi (what beautiful eyes!)
.

FEMININE
Singular Plural Before nouns...
Bella Belle beginning with a consonant.
Bell' Belle beginning with a vowel.

Examples:
Una bella ragazza (a beautiful girl), delle belle rose (some beautiful roses), una bell'automobile (a nice car), delle belle orchidee (some beautiful orchids).

2. Buono

The adjective "buono" agrees with the noun it precedes by changing the ending, according to the following scheme:

MASCULINE
Singular Plural Before nouns...
Buon Buoni beginning with consonant or vowel, except where we must use the adjectives "buono".
Buono Buoni beginning with: s + consonant, z and a very small number of nouns, mostly of foreign origin, beginning with: gn, ps, pn, x, i or y + another vowel.

Examples:
Un buon ragazzo (a good guy), dei buoni libri (some good books), un buono studente (a good student), dei buoni zoccoli (some good clogs).


FEMININE
Singular Plural Before nouns...
Buona Buone beginning with a consonant.
Buon' Buone beginning with a vowel.

Examples: Buona fortuna! (good luck!), delle buone cose (some good things), una buon'amica (a good girl friend), delle buone attrici (some good actresses).

3. Grande

The adjective "grande" agrees with the noun it precedes by changing the ending, according to the following scheme:

MASCULINE / FEMININE
Singular Plural Before nouns...
Gran / grande Grandi beginning with consonant, except where we must use only "grande".
Grand' / grande Grandi beginning with vowel.
Grande Grandi beginning with: s + consonant, z and a very small number of nouns, mostly of foreign origin, beginning with: gn, ps, pn, x, i or y + another vowel.

Examples:
Un gran signore / un grande signore (a great gentleman), dei grandi film (some great films), un grand'amico / un grande amico (a great friend), una grand'attività / una grande attività (a great activity), dei grandi ospiti (some great guests), delle grandi opere (some great works), un grande spazio (a big space), dei grandi spettacoli (some great shows).

1. Santo

The adjective "santo" agrees with the noun it precedes by changing the ending, according to the following scheme:

MASCULINE
Singular Plural Before nouns...
San Santi beginning with consonant or vowel, except where we must use the adjectives "santo".
Santo Santi beginning with: s + consonant, z and a very small number of nouns, mostly of foreign origin, beginning with: gn, ps, pn, x, i or y + another vowel.

Examples:
San Pietro, Santi Pietro e Paolo, Santo Stefano.


FEMININE
Singular Plural Before nouns...
Santa Sante beginning with a consonant.
Sant' Sante beginning with a vowel.

Examples:
Santa Rita, Sant'Anna, le Sante Anna e Rita.



Posted by Arnaldo Colonna on Jaunary 21, 2010 - All rights reserved


Tags: Italian, adjectives, irregular, grammar, free, online, learn, tutor
Copyright © 2009 - 2018 www.arnix.it - All rights reserved - VAT number: IT06444691213