Learn Italian ARTICLES: definite and indefinite

Articles are a real challenge for Italian students…. But we like difficult challenges, don’t we?  😆

Haven’t you done it yet? Follow us on YouTubeFacebookInstagram e Twitter!  ?

Definite and Indefinite Articles 

Italian articles are always followed by nouns (with which they agree in gender and number).

When articles are followed by invariable nouns1 their presence is fundamental to understand gender and number.

There are three article categories in italian:

1. Definite articles: they are used with things or people known and determined (already mentioned).

 

Feminine singular definite article: LA

La casa, la strada, la rosa…

N.B. The vowel of the article LA disappears before nouns that begin with a vowel. We’ll replace it with an apostrophe .

Lisola, lancora, liniziativa

BE CAREFUL: If the noun begins with ie-, the “a” of the article doesn’t disappear: la iena

 

Masculine singular definite article: IL / LO

We tend to use IL before masculine nouns that begin with a consonant (apart from some “exceptions” where we use LO)

Il cane, il ristorante, il quadro…

Instead, we use LO before masculine nouns that begin with:

  • vowel: lalbero2
  • y,x,z: lo yogurt, lo zucchero…
  • s + consonant: lo sport…
  • gn, pn, ps: lo gnomo, lo pneumatico, lo psicologo…
  • i + vowel: lo iato…

Feminine plural definite article: LE

le case, le strade, le rose…

N.B. It is also used before those words that begin with a vowel: le isole, le iene…

 

Masculine plural definite article: I / GLI

We use I in the same cases in which, in the singular, we use IL:

i cani, i ristoranti, i quadri…

We use GLI in the same cases in which, in the singular, we use LO:

gli alberi, gli zuccheri, gli sport, gli psicologi…

 

 

2. Indefinite articles: they are used with things or people indeterminate, unknown or not mentioned before.

Feminine singular indefinite article: UNA

una casa, una strada, una rosa…

N.B. If the word that follows begins with a vowel, the article UNA loses its final vowel and we use the apostrophe: unisola…

 

Masculine singular indefinite article: UN / UNO

The article UN precedes the masculine nouns that begin with a consonant (except for those cases in which we use UNO) BUT ALSO before masculine nouns that begin with a vowel (without apostrophe)!

un cane, un ristorante, un quadro, un albero…

The article UNO is used when the following noun begins with:

  • y,x,z: uno yogurt, uno zucchero…
  • s + consonant: uno sport…
  • gn, pn, ps: uno gnomo, uno pneumatico, uno psicologo…
  • i + vowel: uno iato…

The definite articles don’t have the plural. Therefore, we have to use the plural of the partitive articles in order to express an indefinite quantity in the plural.

C’è (there is) or ci sono (there are)? Review them!

 

 

3. Partitive articles: they express an indefinite quantity, a part of a whole.

In the singular, they precede the uncountable nouns and they indicate “a little bit of“, “some“; in the plural, they are used for plural of indefinite articles and they indicate “some“.

Singular feminine partitive article: DELLA 

della pasta, della marmellata (uncountable nouns)

 

Masculine singular partitive article: DEL/ DELLO

We use DEL in the same cases in which we use IL, while we use DELLO in the same cases in which we use the article LO.

del pane, del formaggio (uncountable nouns)

dello zucchero, dello stufato, dellamido (uncountable nouns)

 

Feminine plural partitive article: DELLE 

delle case, delle strade, delle rose, delle isole… (used for the plural of indefinite articles: una casa → delle case)

 

Masculine plural partitive article: DEI/ DEGLI

dei cani, dei quadri (plural of UN, used in the same cases in which we use IL, UN)

degli alberi, degli sport (plural of UNO, used in the same cases in which we use LO, UNO)

 

 

SPECIAL USES OF ARTICLES

  • They are not used before proper names and surnames of people, if they’re not introduced by a common noun: la Maria / il Rossi BUT la signora Maria / il signor Rossi / lo scultore Michelangelo
  • But they are used before surnames to indicate an entire family (i Rossi / i Bruno…) or a woman whose proper name is not there (la Curie)
  • They are not used before singular family members’ names if preceded by a possessive adjective (except for loro): la mia madre / il mio figlio BUT il loro fratello
  • They are used, instead, if the family nouns are plural or if they are preceded by an adjective: i miei cugini / il mio caro padre
  • They are used before geographical names (mountains, rivers, lakes, seas, oceans, continents, states, regions): il Tevere, il Pacifico, l’Africa, la Spagna, la Sardegna…
  • They are not used, instead, before city names: la Venezia, la Parigi
  • Before foreign nouns, the article is usually chosen on the basis of the pronunciation, by respecting those rules that are valid for the Italian language: lo show (because sh- in Italian is pronounced sc-) / il jazz
  • In Italian, the h is silent, therefore the article takes an apostrophe as if there were directly the vowel: l’hamburger, l’hotel

Do you want to learn all the secrets of the adjectives

Vediamo se hai appreso i contenuti di questa lezione! Prova a fare gli esercizi!

Chi ha preso chiavi della mia macchina?
Non vedo l'ora che esca prossimo libro del Trono di Spade!
Come si chiama film in cui ha recitato Monica Belluci?
Penso che italiani siano davvero simpatici, non credi?
Ci sono lezioni davvero interessanti su questo sito!
Non mi avevi detto che tuoi figli fossero così capricciosi!
Perché non ti compri ____ computer portatile nuovo? Quello che hai si è rotto!
Hai per caso visto ____ paio di orecchini? Carla non trova i suoi!
Massimo non è più lo stesso dalla morte del padre... Credo abbia bisogno di psicologo

Have you still doubts about how to use the articles? Leave us a comment, we will answer as soon as possible!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.