Learn the Basics of Italian Articles (Definite / Indefinite)

In the Italian language we have two types of articles: Articoli Determinativi (definite articles) and Articoli Indeterminativi (indefinite articles).

L’articolo Determinativo (Definitive Article)


In Italian, l’articolo determinativo has different forms according to the gender, number, and first letter of the noun or adjective it precedes. Here are some guidelines that will help you to determine what article to use.

For singular nouns:


  • lo (LO): is used for all masculine nouns beginning with s+consonant or z.
  • il (IL): is used for all masculine nouns starting in a consonant, except the case where you use "lo".
  • la (LA): is used with feminine nouns starting with any consonant.
  • l’ (L'): is the elision of lo or la, and is used before masculine or feminine nouns beginning with a vowel.

Examples:


|Article |Italian |English |Gender |
|---|:-:|:-:|:-:|
|lo |lo zucchero |the sugar |masculine |
| il | il vecchio zio | the old uncle | feminine |
|lo |lo zio | the uncle | masculine |
| l' | l'impatto |the impact |masculine |
|il |il castello |the castle |masculine |
| l' |l'acqua |the water |feminine |
| la |la scatola |the box |feminine |

For plural nouns:


  • gli (GLI): is used with masculine nouns starting with vowels, the consonant z , cluster gn or clusters made of s+consonant.
  • i (I): is used with masculine nouns starting with consonants which do not belong to the previous case.
  • le (LE): is used before any plural feminine noun.

Examples:

|Article |Italian |English |Gender |
|---|:-:|:-:|:-:|
| gli |gli artisti |the artists |feminine |
|gli |gli elefanti |the elephants |masculine |
| le | le ali | the wings | feminine |
|i |i ragazzi | the boys | masculine |
| i | i cavalli |the horses |masculine |
|gli |gli stessi ragazzi |the same boys |masculine |

L'articolo Indeterminativo (Indefinite Article)


The Italian indefinite article (l'articolo indeterminativo) corresponds to English a/an and is used with singular nouns. It also corresponds to the number one.
When the noun to which the article applies is a masculine noun, then a/an can be translated as un, or uno. If the article applies to a feminine noun, then the article that has to be used is una. As with the definite articles, there are some rules to understand the use of these articles:

  • uno (UNO): is used for masculine words beginning with z or s+consonant.
  • un (UN): is used for all other masculine words, except the cases where you have to use uno.
  • una (UNA): is used with feminine nouns starting with any consonant.
  • un' (UN'): is the elision of una, and is used when feminine nouns start with any vowel.

For singular nouns:


| Article | Italian |English |Gender |
|---|:-:|:-:|:-:|
| un |un treno |a train | masculine |
| una |una bicicletta |a bicycle | feminine |
|un |un aeroplano |an airplane | masculine |
| un | un’automobile | a car |feminine |
| uno |uno stadio |a stage | masculine |
| una | una stazione | a station | feminine |

For plural nouns:


Note: When plural nouns are indefinite, they simply do not use an article, or they use the partitive form: i.e. cats (no article) or some cats (partitive), coins or some coins (partitive), etc. Partitive will be dealt with in another article, so we can address this concept later.
8 de marzo de 2016
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I was born and raised in the majesty of Rome, and I love to teach my language. I am an Italian tutor, a learning specialist, and a screenwriter with more than five years of experience. Forget the old, boring lessons with just tons of grammar and no fun; I use e-learning tools and many different activities to keep my students engaged. Once I have assessed your level and understood your goal, I will design the right course for you. I will help you develop all the skills to speak proper Italian and sound authentic when visiting our marvelous country. My classes are a perfect blend of grammar, conversation, reading and comprehension, and, last but not least, writing. I will provide you with everything you need so you don't have to spend extra money on books. I love traveling, writing, and fancy cocktails! Let's chat about your interests, and of course, let's talk about Il Bel Paese!
Flag
Italiano
globe
Italia
time
740
Habla:
Italiano
Nativo
,
Inglés
C1
,
Español
A2
I was born and raised in the majesty of Rome, and I love to teach my language. I am an Italian tutor, a learning specialist, and a screenwriter with more than five years of experience. Forget the old, boring lessons with just tons of grammar and no fun; I use e-learning tools and many different activities to keep my students engaged. Once I have assessed your level and understood your goal, I will design the right course for you. I will help you develop all the skills to speak proper Italian and sound authentic when visiting our marvelous country. My classes are a perfect blend of grammar, conversation, reading and comprehension, and, last but not least, writing. I will provide you with everything you need so you don't have to spend extra money on books. I love traveling, writing, and fancy cocktails! Let's chat about your interests, and of course, let's talk about Il Bel Paese!
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