What are the Italian feminine nouns? How do you tell them apart from masculine ones?
Learn everything you need to know about them here!
Italian feminine nouns
As you probably already know, Italian nouns can be either masculine or feminine.
Usually, nouns for male people and animals usually are of masculine gender, while nouns for female people and animals are of feminine gender.
Donna and bambina, for example, are feminine.
And uomo and bambino are masculine.
For all other nouns, it’s not nature that defines gender. It’s grammar itself. Most times, you will be able to guess the gender of an Italian noun by its ending letter, making Italian feminine nouns easy to spot. Let’s see why.
Italian feminine nouns ending in -a
The vast majority of Italian feminine nouns end in -a. Very few masculine nouns end in -a.
La finestra è aperta.
The window is open.
C’è una bottiglia sul tavolo.
There’s a bottle on the table.
La luna è piena stasera.
The moon is full tonight.
Feminine nouns ending in -e
Italian nouns ending in -e can either be masculine or feminine and some of them cannot be told apart.
Would you be able to say if tigre is masculine or feminine?
In fact, one of the nouns that you’ve seen right at the beginning of this article is a masculine noun: colore.
We say la tigre, with a feminine article, because the noun is feminine.
And we say il colore, with a masculine article, because the noun is masculine.
Other feminine nouns in -e are…
La prigione è qui vicino.
The prison is nearby.
I pesci cadono nella rete.
The fish fall into the net.
Non trovo la chiave!
I can’t find the key!
You will have to learn the gender by heart for words in -e that have an unpredictable gender that cannot be inferred by context. Sometimes though, you will be able to guess the correct gender depending on the extended ending of the noun itself.
Let’s see why.
Italian feminine nouns in -essa, -ice and -ina
Nouns that end in -essa, -trice and -ina are usually feminine. These are usually related to jobs.
La studentessa arriva tardi a scuola.
The female student arrives late at school.
Quanti anni ha la regina d’Inghilterra?
How old is the queen of England?
Questa attrice ha recitato in molti film.
This actress has acted in many films.
Job professions in -ista
Words ending in -ista that refer to job professions can be either masculine or feminine depending on the natural gender of the worker.
Take giornalista, for example. It can be a male noun (il giornalista, the male journalist) if you’re talking about a man and a female noun (la giornalista, the female journalist) if you’re addressing a woman.
La giornalista parla al microfono.
The journalist speaks into the microphone.
L’artista dipinge un quadro.
The artist paints a painting.
Italian feminine nouns ending in -ione
Italian nouns ending -ione (-zione) are very often abstract nouns and are feminine.
La lezione comincia alle 10.
The class starts at 10 a.m.
Alle 9 devo essere in stazione.
I have to be at the station at 9 o’clock.
La riunione è stata rimandata a domani.
The meeting was postponed until tomorrow.
Italian feminine nouns in -o
Since -o is the main masculine ending in Italian, you won’t find many feminine nouns ending with this letter. There are very, very few of them.
Ho comprato un’auto elettrica.
I bought an electric car.
Spegni la radio, per favore.
Turn off the radio, please.
Le dita della sua mano sono fredde.
The fingers of his hand are cold.
And that’s it with the Italian feminine nouns! If you still have any doubts, feel free to leave a comment.
Now that you’ve seen how the Italian feminine nouns work, you might want to keep learning Italian online with these free Italian resources:
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