Italian grammar: Articles

Articles in Italian

Improve your Italian with our online courses: Free lessons, standard groups or private lessons.
In Italian, as well as in many other languages, there are mainly 2 types of articles: definites (determinativi) and indefinites (indeterminativi). According to many Italian grammars, even the partitives (partitivi) can be considered articles.

All articles agree in gender and number with the noun they refer to. Note that in Italian there are only 2 genders: masculine and feminine. There is not a neuter gender.

...Let's go into each article in more detail:

Definite Articles (Articoli determinativi)

The definite article, in Italian, is used to introduce nouns which refer to specific items.

Singular Plural Gender
il i masculine
lo gli masculine
la le feminine
l' gli / le masculine / feminine

The articles il and i are used before masculine nouns beginning with consonant, except where we must use the articles lo and gli.

Examples:
Il cane (the dog), il libro (the book), i cani (the dogs), i libri (the books)
.

The articles lo and gli 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:
lo zucchero (the sugar), lo specchio (the mirror), gli spaghetti (the spaghetti),
lo yo
gurt (the yogurt).


The word "pneumatico" (tire) can be preceded by both il / i and lo / gli.

The article la and le are used before all feminine nouns beginning with consonant.

Examples:
la casa (the house), le mele (the apples).


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

Examples:
l’orologio (the watch), l’arancia (the orange), gli orologi (the watches), le arance (the oranges).



Indefinite articles (Articoli indeterminativi)

While the definite article, as we have already seen before, is used to introduce nouns which refer to specific items, the indefinite article, in Italian, is used when we know what type of person or thing the noun refers to, but not which individual.
We must say that a right form for the plural of the indefinite articles doesn’t exist and we adopt the plural of the partitives.

Singular Plural (from partitives) Gender
un dei / degli masculine
uno degli masculine
una delle feminine
un' delle feminine

The article un and its plurals dei / degli are used before masculine nouns beginning with consonant or vowel, except where we must use the article uno.

Examples: un cane (a dog), un orologio (a clock), dei cani (some dogs), degli orologi (some clocks).

The article uno and it’s plural degli are used before masculine nouns beginning with: s + consonant or z and a very small number of nouns, mostly of foreign origin, beginning with: gn - ps - pn - x - i or y + another vowel.

Examples:
uno zaino (a backpak), uno specchio (a mirror), degli spaghetti (some spaghetti), uno yogurt (a yogurt).


The word "pneumatico" (tire) can be preceded by both un / dei and uno / degli.


The article una and its plural delle are used before all feminine nouns beginning with consonant.

Examples:
una casa (a house), delle mele (some apples).


The article un' (with apostrophe) and its plural delle precede all feminine nouns beginning with a vowel.

Examples:
un’arancia (a orange), delle arance (some oranges).



Partitive articles (Articoli partitivi)

The partitive article, in Italian, indicates an indefinite part of a whole and it is used to convey in Italian the English words "some" or "any".

Singular Plural Gender
del dei masculine
dello degli masculine
della delle feminine
dell' degli / delle masculine / feminine

Since the partitive article is formed by the preposition "di" (which in this case becomes "de") + the definite article, it is used under the same rules as the definite article.

Examples:
del pane (some bread), delle arance (some oranges), dell'olio (some oil), della gente (some people).


Posted by Arnaldo Colonna on Jaunary 5, 2010 - All rights reserved


Tags: Italian, articles, definite, indefinite, partitive, grammar, free, online, learn, tutor
Copyright © 2009 - 2018 www.arnix.it - All rights reserved - VAT number: IT06444691213