Italian grammar: Demonstrative adjectives in Italian

Demonstrative adjectives (Aggettivi dimostrativi)

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Demonstrative adjectives, in Italian, indicate the position of someone or something from the point of view of the speaker.

In Italian there are two demonstratives: "Questo" (this) and "Quello" (that).

Many Italian grammars also report "Codesto", but, in the spoken language, it has fallen into disuse and replaced by "quello". Only in Tuscany area and in some official acts is still possible to find this word.

All the demonstratives agree in gender and number with the noun they refer to.

1. "Questo" (this)

The demonstrative questo is used to indicate that someone or something is near the person speaking, in space or time.

This demostrative agrees in gender and number with the noun it refers to, as follows:

SINGULAR
PLURAL
GENDER
Questo
Questi
Masculine
Questa
Queste
Feminine

Examples:
Questo libro è interessante (This book is interesting).
Questi ragazzi sono studiosi (These guys are studious).
Questa macchina è rotta (This car is broken).
Queste matite sono colorate (These pencils are colored).


It is possible to elide "questo" when the noun that follows it begins with a vowel.

Examples:
Quest'ultimo (or questo ultimo) giro è stato velocissimo (This last lap was extremely fast).
Quest'anno (or questo anno) andiamo in montagna (This year we'll go to the mountain).


Sometimes the demonstrative "questo" is reinforced by the adverbs of place "qui" or "qua".

Examples:
Questo qui è mio fratello (This here is my borther).

2. "Quello" (that)

The demonstrative quello is used to indicate that someone or something is far from the speaker and the person addressed, in space or time.

This demostrative agrees in gender and number, with the noun it refers to, under the same rules foreseen for the definite articles:

SINGULAR
PLURAL
GENDER
Quel
Quei
Masculine
Quello
Quegli
Masculine
Quella
Quelle
Feminine
Quell'
Quegli / Quelle
Masculine / Feminine

The demonstratives quel and quei are used before masculine nouns beginning with consonant, except where we must use quello and quegli.

Examples:
Quel cane (that dog).
Quel libro (that book).
Quei cani (those dogs)
.

The demonstratives quello and quegli are used before masculine nouns beginning with: s + consonant, z and a very small number of nouns, mostly of foreign origin, beginning with: gn, ps, pn, x, i or y + another vowel.

Examples:
Quello specchio (that mirror).
Quegli zaini (those backpacks).


The demonstratives quella and quelle are used before all feminine nouns beginning with consonant.

Examples:
Quella casa (that house).
Quelle mele (those apples).

The demonstrative Quell' (with apostrophe) and its plurals precede all masculine and feminine nouns beginning with a vowel.

Examples:
Quell’orologio (that watch).
Quell’arancia (that orange).
Quegli orologi (those watches).
Quelle arance (those oranges).

Posted by Arnaldo Colonna on February 19, 2010 - All rights reserved


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