You are here:

Italian Language/adjectives derived from nouns


Dear Maria,  

My question is about adjectives that are derived from nouns such as “estivo”, “solare”, and “elettrico”.

Can you please tell me if these words are the same thing as “valori attibutivi” such as “nord”, “sud”, “ovest” and “est”.  

Or, are Italian adjectives derived from nouns a different classification.  

If “yes”, can you please tell me if there is a name for these types of adjectives.   (I think that in English they may be called “denominal adjectives”, but I am just now starting to learn about this classification in English)

Also, can you please tell me if there is a way for me to recognize this type of adjectives so that I know for sure to place them after a noun in a sentence.  

Thank you very much.

Very Sincerely,


Dear Rich,

The adjectives  “estivo”, “solare”, and “elettrico” are called in Italian “aggettivi attributivi” (attributive adjectives) as well as “aggettivi qualificativi”( qualifying adjectives) because they describe a noun  as in e.g. “Un caldo estivo”, “Una persona  solare”,  “ Un cavo elettrico”.

As for  a way for you to recognize this type of adjectives so that you can know for sure to place them after a noun in a sentence, please note that you must follow what I’ve said in my previous answer regarding the position of adjectives where I listed the cases where the adjective must be compulsorily placed after the noun, i.e.:

1)when it is a diminutive such as “piccolina” in “Una casa piccolina”.
2)when it governs an indirect object as e.g. “Una casa piena di mobili”(not “Una piena casa di mobili”) ; “Un cane fedele al padrone (not “un fedele cane al padrone”).
3)when it is a  past participle  used as an adjective as in “Un edificio ristrutturato”.
4)when it derives from a noun such as “estivo” (from “estate”), “solare” (from “sole”; “elettrico” (from “elettricità”). See for example:”Era primavera, ma splendeva un sole estivo”; “L’impianto solare era in funzione”; “Il collegamento elettrico era stato fatto”.
5) when it stands for a noun in the genitive as in  “Il biglietto aereo” instead of “Il biglietto dell’aereo”.
6)when id indicates the nationality: as in “Era una ragazza Americana” or the shape as in “Un tavolo rettangolare”.

To conclude, I have to repeat that only a good knowledge and daily use  of Italian language can help you to be sure that you are placing an adjective correctly as this is a very difficult matter for a non-native Italian speaker.

Best regards,


Italian Language

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




Italian is my mother tongue and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning Italian Language.


Over 25 years teaching experience.

I received my Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

This expert accepts donations:

©2017 All rights reserved.