let's learn nomi alterati part 1

Nomi alterati part 1 is a useful focus on a specific group of these nouns.

As the nomi alterati are quite a complex topic, we have split them in order to make them easier to learn: Nomi alterati part 1 focuses only on some forms and exceptions.

Can you guess what we mean with “nomi alterati” in Italian?

The “nomi alterati” are common nouns that we modify in order to give them a slightly different meaning.

Therefore we modify them using a different suffix depending on what we want to say: in this grammar tip we are going to learn some forms of diminutive and augmentative nouns.

A diminutive form expresses smallness but also intimacy, whilst an augmentative form expresses largeness or a major intensity related to other attributes.

There are different options to make a diminutive or augmentative form, so we will start from the most basic ones.

Let’s have a look!

Diminutivo Accrescitivo
Scarpa Scarpina Scarpona
Quaderno Quadernino Quadernone
Gatto Gattino Gattone
Casa Casina Casona


In these cases the suffix for a diminutive form is -ino/-ina and for an augmentative form is -one/-ona.

Regarding the meaning, for example “scarpina” is a little shoe, whilst “scarpona” is a big shoe: the change affects the meaning of the base word, “scarpa“. Similarly, a “gattino” is a kitten and a “gattone” is a big cat.

Sometimes, you can find nouns that looks very similar to these modified forms…but actually they are not modified!

We call them falsi alterati: they might be a bit confusing at first, as the endings are similar to the modified ones.

Let’s see some examples!

mulino –> mill

lampone –> raspberry

burrone –> ravine

tacchino –> turkey

As you can see, these nouns seems to be modified because of their endings, but they are not!

This means that, for example, “burrone” is not a big piece of butter (burro) but a completely different word.

Can you find other words like these?

Think about it and write some examples!

And if you want to deepen your Italian grammar knowledge, have a look at our online resources and video tutorial.


If this is your level, you can join the Italian Evening Elementary 1 course!