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Lesson Transcript

Betsey: Hi everyone! Welcome back to ItalianPod101.com. This is Lower beginner Season 1 Lesson 10 - Describing People in Italian. I’m Betsey.
Ofelia: Ciao! Ofelia here. In this lesson you'll learn how to use adjectives with plural nouns. Such as…’Sara ha gli occhi azzurri. Luisa e Carla hanno due giacche azzurre.’
Betsey: Which means “Sara has blue eyes. Luisa and Carla have two blue jackets.”
Ofelia: The conversation takes place at school. Mieke and Jack parlano insieme.
Betsey: The conversation is between Mieke and Jack. The speakers are schoolmates, so they’ll be using informal language.
Ofelia: Ascoltiamo.
Ofelia: Now let’s learn some new expressions.
Betsey: What kind of expressions?
Ofelia: In Italian, there are some expressions used to describe personality traits that compare people to animals.
Betsey: Oh, like in Aesop’s fables, where animals are used to describe people’s personality traits?
Ofelia: Esatto!
Betsey: For example, Mieke said...
Ofelia: Hai la memoria di un elefante.
Betsey: Which is, “You have a memory like an elephant.” Why do Italians say this?
Ofelia: I suppose it’s because elephants are intelligent animals, and live for a long time. Another common expression is Furbo come una volpe.
Betsey: Which is “Cunning like a fox.” It’s similar to the English.
Ofelia: There is also ‘Testardo come un mulo.’
Betsey: Which is “Stubborn as a mule.”
Ofelia: Maybe this next one is less known - ‘Mite come il bue.’
Betsey: I see…”Good-natured like an ox.”
Ofelia: And what do you think is the adjective for “snail”?
Betsey: I’m guessing it’s slow. How do you say ‘slow’ in Italian?
Ofelia: ‘Lento.’ And the expression is ‘Lento come una lumaca.’
Betsey: “Slow as a snail.”
Ofelia: Right! How would you describe yourself, Betsey:?
Betsey: (laughs) how about...clever!
Ofelia: (laughs) Well, you could say ‘Sono intelligente come un’aquila!’
Betsey: “I am clever as an eagle...” but this phrase doesn’t sound very clever!
Ofelia: In reality, in most cases it is said ironically! (laughs)
Betsey: (laughs) Okay, now onto the vocab.
Betsey: Let's have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Ofelia: The first word is CARATTERE.
Betsey: Which means “PERSONALITY.”
Ofelia: This noun is used to translate the English word ‘character’. As in English, we can also say PERSONALITA’, ‘personality’.
Betsey: Wait, in English “personality” can also indicate a famous person or VIP...
Ofelia: And it’s the same in Italian. For example, “Stephen Spielberg è una personalità del cinema”.
Betsey: “Stephen Spielberg is a personality in the motion picture industry.” Ok, and what about ‘character’?
Ofelia: “Giulia ha un carattere estroverso” or “Guilia ha una personalità estroversa”.
Betsey: Both sentences means “Giulia has a friendly character”. The second one we'll look at is...
Ofelia: Another way you can describe a patient person is by using the noun pazienza, avere pazienza.
Betsey: Which means “To have patience.” Is there any difference between these two expressions?
Ofelia: Not at all!
Betsey: Ok, now let’s move on to the next word. What is it?
Betsey: Which means “BROTHER”
Ofelia: For “sister”, we should say SORELLA.
Betsey: I see. So, in Italian, to say that you have a great relationship with a friend of yours, you can say...
Ofelia: “essere come fratelli”, or “essere come sorelle”.
Betsey: “To be like brothers” or “To be like sisters”
Betsey: Can you give us an example, Ofelia?
Ofelia: ‘Io e Betsey: siamo come sorelle.’
Betsey: Which is “Betsey: and I are like sisters.”
Ofelia: Since we’re on the topic of families, next up is ‘cugino’
Betsey: This means “cousin”. Ofelia, what’s an example using this?
Ofelia: ‘Giovanni gioca spesso con i suoi cugini’
Betsey: “John often plays with his cousins.” Okay, now let’s move onto the grammar.

Lesson focus

Betsey: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to use descriptive adjectives when they are together with plural nouns.
Ofelia: For example in the sentence I loro fratelli invece sono molto timidi.
Betsey: Their brothers, on the other hand, are very shy.
Ofelia: The adjective timido goes with the plural noun ‘fratelli’.
Betsey: As we saw in the previous lesson, adjectives always agree in gender and number.
Ofelia: Right. Remember that adjectives are divided in two groups, the ones ending in –o and the ones ending in –e.
Betsey: For example...
Ofelia: ‘Buono’ (good, tasty) or ‘azzurro’ (light blue).
Betsey: These all belong to the first group.
Ofelia: While grande (big) or felice (happy) belong to the second group.
Betsey: When the first group adjectives go with a plural masculine noun…
Ofelia: The -o changes into –i
Betsey: For example...
Ofelia: Azzurro-azzurri. (LITTLE PAUSE) Sara ha gli occhi azzurri.
Betsey: Sara has blue eyes.
Ofelia: Also for the second group, the plural ends in –i.
Betsey: For example?
Ofelia: Felice-felici. (LITTLE PAUSE) Giovanni ha tre cani felici.
Betsey: Giovanni has three happy dogs.
Betsey: Now when adjectives go with a plural feminine noun…
Ofelia: The first group ending in -a, will change into –e
Betsey: For example?
Ofelia: Azzurra-azzurre. Luisa e Carla hanno due giacche azzurre.
Betsey: Luisa and Carla have two blue jackets.
Ofelia: And the second group ending in -e will change into –i, like in the masculine.
Betsey: For example?
Ofelia: Grande-grandi. Queste case sono grandi.
Betsey: These houses are big.
Ofelia: Now don’t forget that the endings of the nouns do not always match.
Betsey: If the adjective and the noun belong to different groups, then the ending will not match.
Ofelia: Yes, for example, Giovanna e Daria sono due ragazze felici.
Betsey: Which is “Giovanna and Daria are two happy girls.”
Ofelia: Here, “Ragazze” and “felici” have different endings.
Betsey: Ok. Now listeners, remember to check the lesson notes to reinforce what you’ve learned in this lesson.


Betsey: OK. That's all for this lesson.
Ofelia: Thank you all for listening! A presto!
Betsey: See you next time!


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

ItalianPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Hi listeners! Can you describe your character?

ItalianPod101.com Verified
Friday at 11:01 PM
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Hi Tamer,

thanks for your question!

When using "avere" as the auxiliary, you need to make the past participle agree only if there is a Direct Object pronoun before it.

Hai mangiato la mela? = Have you eaten the apple?

Sì, la ho mangiata (or, shortened, l'ho mangiata) = Yes, I've eaten it. -> "mangiato" needs to agree with the pronoun "la" (feminine singular).

Ho appena visto i ragazzi. = I've just seen the boys.

Li ho appena visti = I've just seen them. [Li = stands for "the boys", masculine plural, so you change "visto" to "visti"].

I hope this helps, don't hesitate to ask if you still have doubts.


Team ItalianPod101.com

Sunday at 06:29 PM
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I see that although the auxiliary verb in the following sentence is "avere", the passato prossimo changes from "visto" to "visti" to match the objects of the sentence

li hai visti

not li hai visto

Accordingly, I assume that even with "avere" it changes to match the number of the objects?

ItalianPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 02:10 AM
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Hi cesar,

thanks for your question!

Grammatically speaking, they are both correct. And also both used in everyday language.

The only tiny difference is that it may be considered more "polite" to put yourself after the other person (so "X ed io"). But it's really just a nuance, no one would be considered rude for saying "io e X".

Hope this makes sense!


Team ItalianPod101.com

Monday at 10:51 PM
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I have a question related to the order of the words...

Which is better way to say it...

Io e Betsey: siamo come sorelle


Betsey ed io: siamo come sorelle.

ItalianPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 04:55 PM
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Thank you for posting.

In "molto timidi," "molto" means "very" and is an adverb.

You have to change it only when its meaning is "many."

For example "many boys" is "molti ragazzi" and "many girls" is "molte ragazze."

"Many boys are very shy" is... "Molti ragazzi sono molto timidi."

I hope this helps!


Team ItalianPod101.com

Tuesday at 07:09 PM
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May I ask why the dialog said "molto timidi" and not "molti timidi"? when should I change molto to match the gender and number of the adjective and when should I leave it unchanged?

Thank you! Great lesson! :D