I have read the following sentence:

Il succo di frutta è sul piano cucina.

Il frigorifero è accanto al piano cucina.

Why is the cucina treated as a masculine noun here? If cucina is feminine, it should be transformed into la piana cucina, right?

1 Answer 1


In piano cucina the main noun is piano (meaning “surface”, “top”), while cucina (“kitchen”) is a kind of attribute.

A more traditional form might be piano da cucina or something like that, but in Italian it is not infrequent to find phrases of the form noun+noun, written together or apart. Consider pescespada (“swordfish”), scuola guida (“driving school”), busta paga (“pay packet”), carrozza ristorante (“dining car”), treno merci (“goods train”) and lots of other ones.

In all these cases the second noun modifies, makes more specific the first one, which is the one to be considered for the gender and number of the whole expression.

  • Thanks. Just curious: Is there any noun that unions more than 2 words together? Do the gender and number match the first noun in that case (if possible)?
    – Blaszard
    Jun 27, 2015 at 7:43
  • 1
    @Gardecolo I never heard any composed word of more than two words. The gender and number match the "head" noun (there's probably a better term for this). It's il pescespada/treno merci and la scuola guida/busta paga/carrozza ristorante and i pescispada not i pescespade nor i pescispade. Sometimes the "head" noun is not the first one, for example in il capogiro the head is giro not capo so we say i capogiri and not i capigiro nor i capigiri. However sometimes both noun change in the plural... there's no simple rule for all composed words.
    – Bakuriu
    Jun 27, 2015 at 9:47
  • 1
    @Gardecolo Would something like servizio assistenza clienti qualify? Jun 27, 2015 at 9:58
  • 1
    @Gardecolo: Out of the top of my mind I can't think of 3- (or more) part nouns either, but they are conceivable and would be easily understood: one could create such a werecreature as a uomo-pescecane (“swordfishman”), for instance.
    – DaG
    Jun 27, 2015 at 10:32
  • 3
    @FedericoPoloni: I'd see your example more as a full-fledged phrase shortened by omitting articles and prepositions, than as a composite noun. There exist monsters as “scadenza versamento rata pulizia scale condominio".
    – DaG
    Jun 27, 2015 at 10:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.