Oh, to live in a yellow house with a red roof in the middle of a big forest! That sounds just like a dream… unless you have to share the house with three angry bears, like in our version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
In this lesson, we’ll have a look at how words like yellow, red, and big work in Italian. These are adjectives, and they help us to describe something or someone.
At the same time, they also change depending on whether you're talking about a single thing, or multiple things. Piece of torta, right?
Let's take two kinds of objects from the story: Orso (bear) which is a masculine word, and bambina (girl), which is a feminine word.
Now let's add the adjective: arrabbiato (angry).
Take a look at how arrabbiato changes, depending on the noun gender and number of the thing we're describing:
See how ending of the adjective changes to match? Adjectives have to always match the noun gender (masculine or feminine) and number (singular or plural) of the thing they’re describing.
The easiest way to spot the gender and number is to look at the word for "the" in front of the word. (See our lesson on "the" if you need help with this.) Then change the end of the adjective like this...
Using these rules, you can go ahead and start using wonderful adjectives like these:
The rules above work for adjectives that end in an -o or an -a. There are a couple of other common types of adjectives which follow slightly different rules (but are actually easier to remember).
If an adjective ends in an -e, it doesn't matter if you're describing a masculine or feminine thing — the ending stays the same. Phew! You do need to change it to -i for a plural, but two endings are way easier than four, right?
Here's one to keep you on your toes. If an adjective ends in -ista, it doesn't change to match gender in the singular... BUT it does change to match gender in the plural. Are you having fun yet? :)
Here's everything we've covered at a glance. You can see there are three main patterns to learn:
Now that you know how to get those adjectives matching whatever they're describing. In the next lesson we'll cover the next burning question... where exactly do you put your adjectives? (And what happens when you put them somewhere else?)