The Italian Definite Articles are 6 (versus 1 only in English), 3 singular, 3 plural. They are 2 masculine singular (IL and LO) and 1 feminine singular (LA) as it follows:
These Articles are called “definite” because the identify something or someone specific. If I say for example “La nonna è all’ospedale”, “Granma is at the hospital”, I am speaking about a definite person that the spokesmen and me specifically know. I am not speaking about a generic person.
But why the Italian has 6 articles instead of 1 for example? That’s because the Italian Article, such as the Italian Adjective, must agree with the number and the gender of the Noun.
Let’s now see the specific use of the Italian Definite Articles.
The Italian Definite Articles
In order to have a clear idea of when to use the Italian Definite Articles, please watch this video.
In conclusion we can now say that we use the MASCULINE ARTICLE “LO” only in this cases:
- when the Noun starts with vowel, in this case the vowel “O” drops: not LO AMICO but L’AMICO;
- in specific situations. In particular when the Noun starts with:
- S + consonant: LO STUDENTE, LO SCOGLIO
- Z: LO ZIO
- Y, X: LO YOGURT, LO YOGA
- PS, PN, GN: LO PSICOLOGO, LO PENUMATICO, LO GNOCCO.
In all the other cases we use the MASCULINE ARTICLE “IL”, which is the most used actually.
About the FEMININE ARTICLE “LA”, you must know that, like for LO, the vowel A drops when the Noun starts with a vowel. That’s why we say and write L’AMICA and not LA AMICA. In all the other cases, when the Noun starts with a consonant, the Italian definite article used is LA.
PAY ATTENTION THAT when you have an Adjective after the Article, you must choose the article according to the first letter of the Adjective, not of the Noun. This is an example: IL MIO STUDENTE PIU’ BRAVO (My best student). You can clearly see that we choose the Article IL because of the starting letter of MIO, not because of the starting letter of STUDENTE.
We discussed this topic in another page. There you can find there a schema with the Italian Definite Articles together with the Italian Indefinite Articles (UN UNO UNA UN’).
Also, this post is part of a Full Italian Course for beginners available here: Italian Video Course for Beginners.
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