Adjective placement

Adjectives usually come after a noun or a verb like essere (to be) or sembrare (to appear, to look). They're used to describe a trait.

Ciro sembra stupido.

Ciro seems stupid.

Roma è una città grande.

Rome is a large city.

Sometimes the adjective comes before a noun for emphasis, or to give it a particular meaning.

Ho una piccola casa.

I have a small house.

Vedo un bell’hotel.

I can see a nice hotel.

Some adjectives mean something different depending on whether they come before or after the noun. These are the main ones:

Before After Examples
Bello Nice, pleasant, lovely Beautiful, attractive Una bella serata A lovely evening

Una modella bella A beautiful model

Buono Good, high-quality Kind, honest Un buon lavoro A good job

Un uomo buono A kind man

Povero Poor (unfortunate) Poor (penniless) Un pover'uomo A poor (unfortunate) man

Un Paese povero A poor country (economically)

Certo Some Sure, safeHa certe idee strane He has some strange ideas

Una scelta certa A safe choice

Grande Great, important Large Una grande attrice A great actor

Una borsa grande A large bag

Diverso Several Varied, different Ci sono diverse persone There are several people

Sono scelte diverse They are varied options

Vecchio Old (known to the speaker for a long time) Old (objectively), elderly Una vecchia amica An old friend

Una casa vecchia An old house

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