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How to make nouns plural in Italian?

By: Debora Chellini Thu May 16 2024

You can form the plural of most Italian nouns by changing the ending to -i or -e. The correct plural ending for a given word will depend on the singular form of the noun and also on its gender. For example:

bambino → bambini

child → children

casa → case

house → houses

However, some Italian nouns do have irregular plurals or use the same form in the plural that they use in the singular. In this post, we’ll review the rules for making nouns plural (for regular plurals), and we’ll introduce you to some of the irregular plurals as well. Let’s check those rules out along with the exceptions!

Table of Contents

    What are the rules for making regular nouns plural in Italian?

    Most regular plural nouns in Italian are formed just by changing the final vowel in the word, to -i or -e. Most commonly, you can decide which ending to use just by looking at the gender of the noun and the final vowel of the singular form, but there are a few specific singular endings that have additional spelling and pronunciation changes in the plural.

    Let’s look first at the simple vowel changes, then we’ll look at these rules for specific endings.

    Italian plurals where only the vowel changes

    As you can see, for most groups of nouns, the plural ending is -i, but for feminine nouns ending in -a, the plural ending is -e instead.

    Singular ending
    Plural ending



    il bambino

    the child


    i bambini

    the children



    la mano

    the hand


    le mani

    the hands



    il poeta

    the poet


    i poeti

    the poets



    la casa

    the house


    le case

    the houses



    il fiore

    the flower


    i fiori

    the flowers



    la rete

    the net


    le reti

    the nets

    This is true also for singular nouns ending in -ista, both feminine and masculine:

    Singular nouns (m. and f.) ending in -ista
    Plural nouns (m.)
    Plural nouns (f.)

    il/la farmacista

    the pharmacist

    i farmacisti

    the pharmacists

    le farmaciste

    the pharmacists

    Rules for pluralizing specific noun endings in Italian

    Let’s look now at the specific noun endings that are pluralized a little differently from the rules we saw above. These nouns are still regular (i.e. they still follow rules), they just have a few more spelling and pronunciation rules to learn. Let’s have a look at some of these special endings:

    • Nouns ending in -cia and -gia

      When the ending is preceded by a vowel, change the ending to -cie or -gie:

      la camicia → le camicie

      the shirt → the shirts

      When the ending is preceded by a consonant change them to -ce or -ge instead:

      l’arancia → le arance

      the orange → the oranges

    • Nouns that end in -ca and -ga

      When the noun is masculine, change the ending to -chi or -ghi

      il duca → i duchi

      the duke → the dukes

      When the noun is feminine, change the ending to -che or -ghe

      l’amica → le amiche

      the friend (f.) → the friends (f.)

      Notice that this rule preserves the “hard” pronunciation of “c” and “g” from the singular (as “k” and “g”), so that the endings aren’t pronounced with a “ch” or “j” sound.
    • Two-syllable nouns ending in -co or -go

      The ending changes to -chi or -ghi, regardless of gender:

      il cuoco → i cuochi

      the cook → the cooks

      il logo → i loghi

      the logo → the logos

      Again, this rule preserves the “hard” pronunciation of “c” and “g” from the singular.
      • il greco → i greci

        the Greek → the Greeks

      • il porco → i porci

        the pig → the pigs

    • Nouns with more than two syllables that end in -co or -go

      If the ending is preceded by a consonant, change the ending to -chi or -ghi:

      il tedesco → i tedeschi

      the German → the Germans

      l’albergo → gli alberghi

      the hotel → the hotels

      If the ending is preceded by a vowel, change the dining to -ci or -gi instead:

      l’amico → gli amici

      the friend → the friends

      l’asparago → gli asparagi

      the asparagus (one spear) → the asparagus (many spears)

      • il carico → i carichi (the load → the loads)

      • l’obbligo → gli obblighi (the obligation → the obligations)

    • Nouns ending in -logo

      If they refer to people, the ending changes to -logi:

      lo psicologo → gli psicologi

      the psychologist → the psychologists

      Otherwise, the ending changes to -loghi:

      il dialogo → i dialoghi

      the dialogue → the dialogues

    • Masculine nouns that end in -io

      The ending usually changes to a single -i:

      il figlio → i figli

      the son → the sons

      But if the “i” is stressed, the plural changes to -ii instead:

      lo zio → gli zii

      /zee·o → zee·ee/

      the uncle → the uncles

      Want to see some more examples? Have a look at this extensive list of Italian nouns that fit into the above six groups!

      But what about those nouns that do not even fit into the above six groups?

    What are the most important groups of irregular plural nouns in Italian?

    There are three main important groups of irregular plural nouns (i.e. nouns that don’t follow predictable rules) in Italian.

    • Nouns that keep the same root, but take an irregular plural ending

      For these, the plural just doesn’t fit the usual pattern, for example:

      l’uovo → le uova

      the egg → the eggs

    • Nouns that completely change their form in the plural

      For these, the whole root, or at least the vowel, changes in the plural, as in:

      bue → buoi

      ox → oxen

    • Nouns that do not change at all in the plural

      Just like “deer → deer” in English, these use the singular as the plural form. For example:

      la città → le città

      the city → the cities

      Let’s go through these three groups to see some important examples and tips about using irregular nouns in each group.

      Plurals which keep the same root, but take an irregular plural ending

      The most important group of irregular nouns that keeps the same root, but takes an irregular plural ending are masculine singular nouns that end in -o, but take the ending -a in the plural:

      • l’uovo → le uova

        the egg → the eggs

      • il dito → le dita

        the finger → the fingers


      This group includes many nouns indicating parts of the body, but does not include mano(hand)which takes the regular ending -i:

      la mano → le mani

      Nouns which change root in the plural

      Here are some of the most important nouns that change their root in the plural:

      • l’uomo gli uomini

        the man → the men

      • il dio → gli dei

        the god → the gods

      • il bue → i buoi

        the ox → the oxen

      For an extensive list of irregular Italian nouns check out our table and this resource.

      Now let’s get to the easiest part!

      Nouns that do not change in the plural

      There are four groups of nouns that have the same form in the singular and plural:

      • nouns with a stress on the last syllable, ending in , and :

        la città → le città(the city → the cities)

        il caffè → i caffè(the coffee → the coffees)

        la virtù → le virtù(the virtue → the virtues)

      • a few nouns ending in -o, especially abbreviations:

        il video → i video(the video → the videos)

        il stereo → gli stereo(the stereo → the stereos)

        la moto → le moto(the motorbike → the motorbikes)

      • a few nouns ending in -ie:

        la serie → le serie (the series (sg.) → the series (pl.))

        la specie → le specie(the species (sg.) → the species (pl.))


        la moglie → le mogli

        the wife, the wives

      • a few masculine nouns of foreign origin that end in a consonant:

        l’hotel → gli hotel(the hotel → the hotels)

      You can see more examples of Italian nouns that don’t change in the plural in our table. Also, if you want to see all the cases split by topic, refer to this table of Italian plurals by topic.

    Important considerations about Italian plurals

    To avoid confusion, it is important to mention a couple of points:

    • Some Italian nouns, called nomi sovrabbondanti(overabundant nouns), can have two different plurals, one masculine and one feminine, with two different meanings:

      Plural masculine
      Plural feminine

      il dito

      the finger

      i diti

      each single finger

      le dita

      all the fingers in one hand

      il grido

      the cry

      i gridi

      the animal cries

      le grida

      the cries

      We provide you with a list of the most common Italian overabundant nouns here.

    • Moreover, when comparing the Italian language to English, we notice how some words are plural in Italian but singular in English:


      the hair

      i capelli([lit.] the hairs)

      the business

      gli affari([lit.] the affairs)

      the news

      le notizie([lit.] the notices)

      the furniture

      i mobili

      Similarly, la gente(people), a frequently used word, is singular in Italian, but plural in English.


    In conclusion, making nouns plural in Italian is just a matter of vowels! We have seen that some nouns change their ending vowel according to specific patterns, others follow spelling rules, while some nouns are the same in the plural as in the singular. There are exceptions, but practice, along with our exercises, will do miracles! So...Let’s start! Buon lavoro!(Good work!)

    Downloadable Resources

    Elevate your language-learning journey to new heights with the following downloadable resources.

    How to make nouns plural in Italian~Nouns with two pluralsHow to make nouns plural in Italian~Activities

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