Tranlsated by Alanna Quintyne

In this article called “10 Masculine Words that end in the Letter -A ”, I am sharing with you ten common Italian words. I am sure you know them, but they are particular because they end in a letter -a, but they are masculine!

So, if you want to know if you correctly use these words, please keep reading the following lines!

When I explain the Italian language to my students, I always tell them that in Italian there are a few simple rules, and if learned well and applied when necessary they will make studying Italian much easier.

Alas, every rule has its exception and even in Italian we have some rather peculiar nouns. If since the very first lesson you have been taught that masculine nouns end with the letter -o and with the letter -i (in the singular and plural form respectively), as you learn new terms and as your vocabulary increases, you will find yourself more and more often in front of strange terms that behave in a totally anomalous way.

And it is precisely for this reason that I decided to write this article, in which I will focus on 10 masculine words in everyday use that end with the letter -a.

1. Problema (Problem)

This is without a doubt a (sorry for the repetition) problematic word, which is precisely why I included this term in my article The 5 Most Common Mistakes in Italian. The word problema is very common and can be used in a thousand different situations, which is precisely why I propose it to my students from the very first lesson.

2. Programma (Plan)

Che programmi hai per stasera? (What plans do you have for tonight?)

Quale programma stai vedendo? (What program are you watching?)

If you are used to using this word in this way, i.e. without specifying the article, it’s no wonder that you’re not familiar with the article itself. The word programma is also accompanied by the article il.

So next time remember to say: I

l programma che hai in mente per il prossimo fine settimana è fantastico! (The plan you have in mind for next weekend is great!)

3. Diploma (Diploma/Degree)

How many of you use or have used the word diploma before? You’ve probably used it to talk about your school or academic achievements. Having a diploma is something to be proud of, and it’s good to talk about it, but remember to talk about it in the right way, paying attention to the concordance: il diploma!

4. Sistema (System)

Many of my students are experts in economics, so it is not uncommon to talk about the economic situation in their countries and often, very often, to hear said la sistema economica or la sistema finanziaria.

Remember also that this is a word you will find very often in Italian, and not only when you have to talk about economy. Think for example of the following systems: il sistema solare (the solar system), il sistema immunitario (the immune system), il sistema metrico-decimale (the metric-decimal system), etc…

5. Fondotinta (Foundation)

Let’s now move on to a word that will be of particular interest to women. Who among you hasn’t gone around looking for the perfect foundation for your skin? Yes, don’t let the final letter fool you: fondotinta is a masculine word.

6. Clima (Climate)

Here’s another masculine word that ends with the letter -a. Climate is one of those words that even beginners should know in order to describe, for example, the place you come from or where you live. Clima is a word that is easily used with us Italians because it is an icebreaker.

7. Dilemma (Dilemma)

Here is another word that, just like the word problema, gives you a hard time when you have to put the article before it. Please, have no doubts and leave it to Hamlet! Always use the masculine articles in front of this word: il dilemma, un dilemma.

8. Schema (Outline)

Another masculine word that ends in the letter -a frequently used in Italian is schema. We can use a schema when we study, when we have to make a presentation at work, and in general whenever we need to summarize concepts.

9. Cinema (Cinema)

Are you a fan of the cinema? If so, then this is the right word for you. This is such a common word that you probably added the masculine article il automatically, almost without realizing it. Either way, despite its -a ending, know that this is a masculine word, which I recommend that you learn.

10. Pigiama (Pyjamas)

Last but not least we have pigiama. We all have this garment in our closet and inevitably make mention of it. Again, remember to say il pigiama or un pigiama and never la or una pigiama.


The list of words I have presented to you so far contains 10 terms that I have carefully selected for you. I have included the most common vocabulary that you can actually use in your daily life.

As mentioned before, these words do not follow the rules that you learned at the beginning of your Italian learning path, and for this reason I suggest that you memorize them (if you don’t know them already) with their respective articles, just to be able to use them in the best possible way.

ila firma

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