5.2.7 Nouns which don't distinguish between masculine and feminine

Many nouns ending in -ante, -ente, -ista don't distinguish between masculine and feminine. In this case, only the article, the accompanying adjective or the context give us a hint whether it is feminine or masculine. The situation is still more complicated, if the noun begins with a vowel (l'inglese). In this case only the adjective or the context allows us to know if we are talking about a woman or a man.

If we are talking about a group and some members of this group are men, then the masculine form is used if we talk about all members of the group. In other words, if we talk about the masculine as well as the feminine members of a group, always the masculine form is used. That may be stupid, but it that' s like that.

Examples  
  il francese => la francese
the French
i francesi => le francesi
the French
     
  l' inglese => l' inglese
the japanese
gli inglesi => le inglesi
the japaneses
     
  il dentista => la dentista
the dentist
i dentisti => le dentiste
the dentist
     
  l' artista => l' artista
the artist
gli artisti => le artiste
the artist
     
  il parente => la parente
the relative
i parenti => le parenti
the relatives
     
  il collega => la collega
the workmate
i colleghi => le colleghe
the workmates
     
  il giovane => la giovane
the youngster
i giovani => le giovani
the youngsters
     






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