Learn About Italian Articles

By optilingo

Overview of Italian definite and indefinite articles

Understanding grammar will help you on your way to foreign language fluency. Specifically, learning the definite and indefinite articles while studying Italian will help you on your stepts towards fluency.

Definite Articles

Italian has eight versions of the English definite article “the”. This accommodates the two genders and plurals of those genders based on the initial of the noun.

Singular masculine il,lo,l’
Plural masculine i,gli
Singular feminine la,l’
Plural feminine le

“il” is used for masculine words that begin with a consonant, expect “s” followed by a second consonant, “z”, “y”, “x”, “pn”, “ps” and “gn”. Its plural version is “i”.

Singular Plural
il fratello (the brother) i fratelli
il libro (the book) i libri (the books)

“lo” is used for masculine nouns that begin with either the letter “s” followed by a second consonant or the consonants “z”, “y”, “x”, “pn”, “ps” and “gn”. Its plural version is “gli”.

Singular Plural
lo sbaglio (the mistake) gli sbagli (the mistakes)
lo zio (the uncle) gli zii (the uncles)
lo yogurt (the yogurt) gli yogurt (the yogurts)
lo xilofono (the xylophone) gli xilofoni (the xylophones)
lo pneumatico (the tire) gli pneumatici (the tires)
lo psicologo (the psychologist) gli psicologi (the psychologists)
lo gnomo (the gnome) gli gnomi (the gnomes)

“l’” is used for both masculine and feminine nouns that begin with a vowel. Its plural version is “gli” for masculine words and “le” for feminine words.

Singular Plural
l’anno (the year) gli anni (the years)
l’opera (the opera) le opere (the operas)

“la” is used for feminine words that begin with a consonant. Its plural version is “le”.

Singular Plural
la signora(the lady) le signore (the ladies)
la zia (the aunt) le zie (the aunts)

With some prepositions Italian definite articles are contracted together.

The singular articles change based on the following patterns.

Preposition

il

lo

la

l’

a (to, at)

al

allo

alla

all’

da (from, by)

dal

dallo

dalla

dall’

di (of)

del

dello

della

dell’

in (in)

nel

nello

nella

nell’

su (on)

sul

sullo

sulla

sull’

con (with)

per (for)

tra / fra (between, among)

The plural articles change based on the following patterns.

Preposition

i

gli

le

a (to, at)

ai

agli

alle

da (from, by)

dai

dagli

dalle

di (of)

dei

degli

delle

in (in)

nei

negli

nelle

su (on)

sui

sugli

sulle

con (with)

per (for)

tra / fra (between, among)

The price of the ticket is fifty euros. Il prezzo del biglietto è cinquanta euro.
Let’s go to the part with the others. Andiamo alla festa con gli altri.

Indefinite Articles

In Italian there are four versions of the English indefinite articles “an” and “a”. Masculine nouns are preceeded by “un” or “uno”. Feminine nouns are preceeded by “una” or “un’”.

“un” is used with masculine words that require the definitive articles “il” and “l’”, while “uno” is used with masculine words that require the definitive article “lo”

a restaurant un ristorante
a student uno studente
a zoo uno zoo
a yacht uno yacht

“una” is used with feminine words that require the definitive article “la”, while “un’” is used with feminine words that require the definitive article “l”.

a lesson una lezione
an hour un’ora

Like in English, indefinite articles don’t have a plural version. However, you can use the preposition “di” combined with definitive articles to translate the English indefinite plural “some”.

some women delle donne
some boys dei ragazzi

There are many more topics of Italian grammar [How to Learn Italian Grammar]to cover while working your way towards fluency.