One must begin the study of any language with a close look at nouns. After all, what is the purpose of language if not to talk about ... well ... stuff. This section of 99problemi will provide you with a detailed look at the system of nouns and the articles to which they are often attached.
Unlike English, each instance of a noun in Italian has a distinct gender (either masculine or feminine) and number (singular or plural).
In Italian, an article is almost always tied to the noun that requires it. These can be of two kinds: 1. definite (the in English) or 2. indefinite (a or an)
Here is a video lesson on the gender of Italian nouns:
*There are exercises at the end of the video to reinforce what you have learned.
All nouns in Italian are either masculine or feminine. For the most part, the gender of a word can be identified by its final letter. In the singular forms there are three possible endings for nouns.
Here is a chart of the noun endings:
Essentially, the majority of words in their singular forms are going to end in either: -o when masculine, -a when feminine, or -e.
If the word ends in -e in the singular, you are going to have to search for its gender in a dictionary or figure out its gender from the articles (either definite or indefinite) attached to it or the adjectives that modify it.
Finally, you shouldn't expect to find any logical reason for and object's grammatical gender.
While the example words of ragazzo (boy) and ragazza (girl) show the occasional intersection between natural gender and grammatical gender. These two genders are sometimes the same, but there is often no relationship between the object and its gender. For example, why would giorno (day) be masculine or notte (night) be feminine?