Adjectives: where to place them in a sentence?

Hello everyone and welcome back to my blog!

Today I would like to tell you about the placement of the adjectives in a sentence. Understanding where to put it can be quite tricky. Generally they would go after the noun they qualify – in English is it the opposite, they go before the noun they qualify – but sometimes you can find that the adjective is put before the noun. For example, if I say “l’estate calda” and “la calda estate”, in the first example the adjective (calda=warm, hot) is placed after the noun it qualifies (estate=summer), and it is the normal order in Italian. However, in the second example, the adjective is placed before the noun, which adds a poetic feeling to the sentence. The meaning does not change in this case.

There is a change in meaning with the following adjectives: alto/a (tall), nuovo/a (new), vecchio/a (old), buono/a (good), bello/a (nice, pretty, beautiful).

They keep their actual meaning when they are placed after the noun, but acquire a different meaning when they are placed before the noun they qualify. For example: “una alta carica” means that someone as a very important job, they work at a high position; “una carica alta” refers to the high electronic charge of some device. Another example: “un grande scrittore” means an important writer, while “uno scrittore grande” means an old writer, who is not young.

To find out more about the topic, you can watch they video I filmed:


Have a nice evening! 🙂


  1. Lucrezia, can you please write a meaning of verbs bello and buono when they’re before the noun? What is their second meaning? I don’t know if I’m blind but I just can’t find it 😀 Thanks once again

    1. Scusami, allora: “una buona amica” is a good friend, “buona” refers to the fact of being a friend, while “un’amica buona” means that your friend is a good person and not necesseraly a good friend. “Una bella persona” vs. “una persona bella”: the first sentence means a beautiful person inside (so kind, polite, etc.); the second example means that the person is beautiful in their appearance, so they just look good. I hope I finally answered your question 🙂 Best, L

  2. Hi Lucrezia,

    Great blog. I struggled with Italian in high school ( now I am sorry I wasn’t paying more attention).
    I think that one of the easiest ways to learn a foreign language is to listen to native speakers ( sitcoms, movies, shows etc.).

    Do you maybe have some videos on Youtube you can recommend just to listen.

    Thanks and BR,


  3. Grammar seems to intimidate me for some reason. Its like there is an incandescent caveat in my brain when I hear the word “GRAMMAR”. It is quite paradoxical for me as I’m an aspiring writer/poet/orator and seem to use my native tongue/language quite deftly. Can you offer me any encouragement/tips to ease this trepidation? I have only been studying Italian for about 5 weeks and that only 20-30 minutes a day.

    Thank you for these teachings! They are excellent and mean so much to so many of us.

    John-Paul DiCicco Cosentino

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