BELLO vs. BEL / QUELLO vs. QUEL
Everybody knows that quello means that and bello in Italian means nice.
And if you have learned Italian for a while, you may have noticed that, sometimes, bello and quello, are used in a different shape.
In fact, it is not rare that bello becomes bel or begli or bei and quello becomes quel or quegli or quei.
If you ended up here, it is because you are not sure about the difference between bel and bello in Italian, or, between quel and quello. The rule is easier than you think, and I will explain to you why.
BELLO and BEL
What is the difference between bello and bel/begli/bei in Italian?
When bello is positioned before a noun, it changes its ending in the same way as the definite articles (il, gli, i)
In other words, the root of the adjective (be- ) merges with the definite articles that would precede the nouns and so it results in the following varieties:
- Bel ragazzo – nice boy
- Begli amici – nice friends
- Bell’uomo – nice man
- Bei ragazzi – nice boy
- Bella donna – nice woman
- Belle donne – nice women
If the adjective bello follows the noun or the verb essere it won’t follow the above rule, but it would simply change its ending as a regular adjective.
- Questa casa è bella – this house is beautiful
- Questo uomo è bello – this guy is handsom
QUELLO and QUEL
What does quello changes its form and become quel/quegli/quei in Italian?
The rule for bello, applies to quello too.
If quello is positioned before a noun (and so it is used as an adjective), its spelling changes by merging its root with the definite articles (il, lo, la, i, gli, le) that would normally precede the noun, as in the following examples.
- Quel ragazzo – that boy
- Quegli amici – those friends
- Quell’uomo – that guy
- Quei ragazzo – those boys
- Quella donna – those women
- Quelle ragazze – those girls
The above varieties are possibile just when quello is used as an adjective.
If quello is used as a pronoun and not as an adjective, the changes occur just in terms of gender and number.
- Quello è il mio gatto – That one is my cat
- Quelle sono le mie amiche – those are my girlfriends
BUONO and BUON
What is the difference between buon and buono?
The same rule for bello applies to the adjective buono.
Buono changes its endings by following the pattern of the indefinite adjective (uno, una, un, un’), when preceding a noun.
- un buon amico – a good friend
- un buon medico – a good doctor