Chapter 4 - All About the
The Italian language has seven forms of the word the.
Masculine il libro i libri
l’animale gli animali
lo zio gli zii
Feminine la matita le matite
l’anima le anime
1. The article il is used with all masculine nouns which begin with a consonant.
The plural of il is i.
il giornale the newspaper i giornali the newspapers
il ragazzo the boy i ragazzi the boys
2. The article la is used with all feminine nouns which begin with a consonant.
The plural of la is le.
la casa the house le case the houses
la calẹndola the marigold le calẹndole the marigolds
la matita the pencil le matite the pencils
3. The article l’ is used with all singular nouns (masculine or feminine) which begin with a vowel.
l’accento the accent l’edificio the building l’informaziọne the information
l’ora the hour l’ufficio the office
The plural forms of words which begin with a vowel are regular. For example,
l’aeroporto (the airport) gli aeroporti
l’entrata (the entrance) le entrate
l’inverno (the winter) gli inverni
l’odọre (the odor) gli odọri
l’umiliaziọne (the humiliation) le umiliaziọni
4. The article lo is used with masculine nouns which begin with gn, ps, x, z or s + consonant.
The plural of lo is gli (pronounced lyee, as the g is silent)
lo gnomo the gnome gli gnomi the gnomes
lo psichiatro the psychiatrist gli psichiatri the psychiatrists
lo studente the student (male) gli studenti the students
lo xilọfono the xylophone gli xilọfoni the xylophones
lo zuccọne the pumpkin gli zuccọni the pumpkins
In general, article usage is the same in Italian as in English, but there are a few differences.
1. Parts of the body and clothing are referred to with an article rather than a possessive
form. examples: She has blond hair. Lei ha i capelli biọndi.
My stomach hurts me. Mi duole il stǫmaco.
I put on my shoes. Mi vestẹi le scarpe.
2. An article is always included to express the hour of the day.
examples: It is one o’clock. È la una.
I go to bed at ten. Mi dormo alle dieci.
She will arrive at 9AM. Lei arriverà alle nove a.m.
3. An article is always included with days, months, and seasons of the year
example: We start on Monday Cominciamo il lunedì.
I visited Chile in September. Visitai Chile nel settembre.
Spring is always pleasant. La primavera sempre è piacẹvole.
4. When referring to the numerical order of rulers, the article is omitted
example: King George the fifth Il re Giọrgio quinto
In ordinary speech, it is common to shorten the names of certain things such as fotografịato foto. When the shortened form is used, the original article will be retained. Thus, la fotografịa is often reduced to la foto.
A guide to the Contractions of articles and prepositions
Some prepositions and articles are expressed in a contracted form. The contractions are as follows.
a con da di in su
il al col dal del nel sul
i ai coi dai dei nei sui
la alla --- dalla della nella sulla
le alle --- dalle delle nelle sulle
gli agli --- dagli degli negli sugli
lo allo --- dallo dello nello sullo
l’ all’ --- dall’ dell’ nell’ sull’
The preposition per was once contracted, but such forms are now regarded as archaic.
How about a?
In Italian, the articles a or an are formed as follows.
1. Uno is used before all masculine singular nouns beginning with gn, ps, z, or s + consonant.
uno gnomo a gnome uno pseudǫnimo an alias
uno schizzo a sketch uno zụfolo a whistle
2. Un is before all other masculine singular nouns .
un ristorante a restaurant un giornale a newspaper
un architetto an architect un avvocato a lawyer
3. Una is used with all feminine singular nouns which begin with a consonant.
una leziọne a lesson una notte a night
una cẹna a dinner una biblioteca a library
4. Un’ is used with all feminine singular nouns which begin with a vowel.
un’amica a friend (female) un’emoziọne an emotion
un’idea an idea un’ǫpera an opera
The usage of un is the same as in English, except in the following case:
He is a famous doctor. Lui è un dottọre famọso.
But ... He is a doctor. Lui è dottọre.
The plural forms used to express an indefinite quantity (such as some, a few, any) are formed as follows.
1. Dello is used before all masculine nouns which begin with gn, ps, z, or s + a consonant.
The plural of dello is degli.
dello zụcchero (any sugar) degli spaghẹtti (some spaghetti)
2. Del is used before all other masculine nouns which begin with a consonant.
The plural of del is dei.
del burro (some butter) dei panini (a few rolls)
3. Della is used before all feminine nouns which begin with a consonant.
The plural form of della is delle
della salsa (some sauce) delle pere (a few pears)
4. Dell’ is used before any singular noun beginning with a vowel.
dell’acqua (some water) dell’olio (some oil)