Italian Language/use if "maschio"


Dear Maria,

Would you please help me to understand the use of the adjective:  “maschio” (male).

I am confused because my dictionary has two listings for this adjective.

In the first, my dictionary states that the adjective “maschio” can be inflected as:  “maschia”, “maschi”, and “maschie”.

In the second listing, my dictionary states that the adjective “maschio” is invariable.

This is quite confusing for me.  

Can you please tell me if the adjective “maschio” is inflected or not.   

As always, I very much appreciate your great help.   Thank you!!  



P.S.  I hope you had a very nice vacation.

Dear Rich,

the word  “maschio” (male) can actually be either a noun or an adjective, just as your dictionary states.

In fact, “maschio”, when used as an adjective, can be inflected as “maschia”(feminine singular) , “maschi”(masculine plural) , and “maschie” (feminine plural).

On the other hand, “maschio”, when used as a noun,  is invariable only when it indicates the gender of an animal which has the same noun for both genders, such as a fox, a monkey, etc.
Otherwise the noun “maschio” is inflected only in the masculine plural.

1.See the following examples where “maschio” is used as an adjective and then it's inflected in the singular/plural/masculine/feminine:

“erede maschio (male heir); figli maschi” (male children ); “aspetto maschio”( manly appearance); “qualità maschie” ( manly qualities); “modi maschi” ( masculine ways) ; “voce maschia” ( manly voice) ; “stile maschio” ( powerful style).

2.See the following examples where “maschio” is used as a noun to indicate the gender of an animal and then it is invariable:

“una scimmia  maschio” (a  male monkey);”una volpe maschio” (a  male  fox);”due volpi maschio” (two male foxes).

3.See the following examples where “maschio” is used as a noun and then it is inflected only in the masculine plural:

”Che bel bambino! è un maschio o una femmina?”(what a beautiful baby! is it a boy or a girl?); “Mia sorella aspetta un maschio”( My sister is expecting a boy); “Ho due maschi e una femmina” ( I have two sons and a daughter); “Giovanni  ha quattro maschi” ( John has four male children).

Hope this can help you.

Have a nice day,

P.S.I  had a very nice vacation. Thanks for your interest.

Italian Language

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


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