Everybody knows that quello means that and bello in Italian means nice, however 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 when using bel instead of bello in Italian, or, quel instead of quello. The rule is easier than you think, and I will explain to you why.
BELLO and BEL
When does bello charge form and become bel/begli/bei in Italian?
When bello is positioned before a noun, it changes its ending in the same way as the definite articles.
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
A similar rule applies to the adjective buono.
Buono changes its endings by following the pattern of the indefinite adjective (uno, una, un, un’)
- un buon amico – a good friend
- un buon medico – a good doctor
Use it or lose it.
Serena is a proud polyglot, teacher and language expert. After learning 8+ foreign languages and working long hours a job she was not born for, she decided she urged a significant life change. She is now combining what she loves doing with what she is good at, helping people to learn Italian online. She has been sharing her love for Italy and the Bella Lingua across the world for the last four years. Her goal is helping enthusiastic humans to transform Italian Language Learning into a habit in their lives.