Easy Learning Italian Grammar (2011)

ADJECTIVES

4. Irregular adjectives

 There are three very common adjectives which are different from other adjectives – bellobuono and grande.

 When the adjective bello (meaning beautiful) is used in front of a masculine noun it has different forms depending on which letter follows it, just like the definite article.

bello

Masculine Singular

Feminine Singular

Masculine Plural

Feminine Plural

used before a noun

bel

bella

bei

belle

used after a verb or a noun

bello

bella

belli

belle

bel tempo

beautiful weather

bei nomi

beautiful names

Il tempo era bello.

The weather was beautiful.

I fiori sono belli.

The flowers are beautiful.

           

 bell’ is used before vowels in the masculine and feminine singular forms.

un bell’albero

a beautiful tree

 bello is used in front of z and s + another consonant in the masculine singular form.

un bello strumento

a beautiful instrument

 begli is used in front of vowels, z and s + another consonant in the masculine plural form.

begli alberi

beautiful trees

begli strumenti

beautiful instruments

 The adjective buono (meaning good) is usually shortened to buon when it comes before a masculine singular noun.

Buon viaggio!

Have a good journey!

un buon uomo

a good man

 The shortened form of buono is not used in front of nouns that start with z or s + another consonant.

un buono studente

a good student

 The adjective grande (meaning biglarge or great) is often shortened to gran when it comes before a singular noun starting with a consonant.

la Gran Bretagna

Great Britain

un gran numero di macchine

a large number of cars

Key points

 In Italian, adjectives agree with the person or thing they are describing.

 Adjectives ending in –o in the masculine have different endings in the feminine and plural forms.

 Some adjectives don’t have a different feminine or plural form.