Italian Articles: Learning Their Quite Complicated Rules With Ease Through 4 Videos (The Best Way, Hands Off!)

Italian Articles

One of the most challenging grammar rules for the Italian language learner is the use of Italian articles.

Basically there are 3 types of masculine articles in the singular (il, lo, l’) and two in the plural (i, gli).

As for the feminine determinative article we have “only” 2 forms in the singular (la, l’) and one in the plural (le).

If you think that in English there is only one determinative article (the) for masculine, feminine, singular, and plural, you understand how this is difficult for a beginner.

Compared to this single article, in Italian, we have 8 different words!

Learn the Italian Articles By Singing “Io canto”

Io canto by Laura Pausini (“I sing”) is the perfect song to learn Italian definite articles: there are many of them in every verse of this song. Begin the lesson singing along with Laura!

La nebbia che si posa la mattina, le pietre di un sentiero di collina,
The mist that settles at morning, the stones of a hill path,
il falco che s’innalzerà, il primo raggio che verrá,
the hawk that will soar, the first beam that will come,
la neve che si scioglierá, correndo al mare…
the snow that will melt, running to the sea…

L’impronta di una testa sul cuscino,
The print of a head on the pillow,
i passi lenti e incerti di un bambino,
the slow and hesitating steps of a child,
lo sguardo di serenitá, la mano che si tenderá,
the look of peace, the hand that will hold out,
la gioia di chi aspetterá per questo e quello che verrá…
the joy of somebody waiting for anything that will come…

Io canto, le mani in tasca e canto,
I sing, the hands in my pockets and I sing,
la voce in festa e canto, la banda in testa e canto,
the happy voice and I sing, the band in my mind and I sing,
corro nel vento e canto, la vita intera e canto,
I run through the wind and I sing, the whole life and I sing,
la primavera e canto, la mia preghiera e canto,
the spring and I sing, my prayer and I sing,
per chi mi ascolterá voglio cantare sempre cantare…
for everybody who’ll listen to me I want to sing, always sing…

L’odore del caffe` nella cucina, la casa, tutta piena di mattina
The smell of the coffee in the kitchen, the house, all full in the morning
e l’ascensore che non va, l’amore per la mia cittá
and the lift that doesn’t work, the love for my hometown,
la gente che sorriderá lungo la strada…
the people who’ll smile to me on the road…
I rami che s’intrecciano nel cielo,
The branches intertwining in the sky,
un vecchio che cammina tutto solo,
an old man walking all alone,
l’estate che poi passerá, il grano che maturerá,
the summer that will go away at last, the wheat that will ripen,
la mano che lo coglierá per questo e quello che verrà…
the hand that will pick it up for anything that will come……

Io canto, le mani in tasca e canto,
I sing, the hands in my pockets and I sing,
la voce in festa e canto, la banda in testa e canto,
the happy voice and I sing, the band in my mind and I sing,
corro nel vento e canto, la vita intera e canto,
I run through the wind and I sing, the whole life and I sing,
la primavera e canto, la mia preghiera e canto,
the spring and I sing, my prayer and I sing,
per chi mi ascolterá voglio cantare sempre cantare…
for everybody who’ll listen to me I want to sing, always sing…

Io canto, le mani in tasca e canto,
I sing, the hands in my pockets and I sing,
la voce in festa e canto, la banda in testa e canto,
the happy voice and I sing, the band in my mind and I sing,
corro nel vento e canto, io canto,
I run through the wind and I sing, I sing,
la vita intera e canto, io canto per chi mi ascolterà,
the whole life and I sing for everybody who’ll listen to me,,
per chi mi ascolterà, per chi mi ascolterà…
for everybody who’ll listen to me, for everybody who’ll listen to me…

⇑ Back to the Table of Contents – Italian Articles⇑

The Rules for Italian Articles

While in English the definite article has only the form “the”, in Italian the “articolo determinativo” (definite article) is quite difficult to learn because it changes according to the gender, the number, and the first letter of the following noun or adjective.

Here are the rules for Italian definite articles:

The Italian Articles for Feminine Nouns

The Feminine Definite Article

Singular Plural
Before consonants la la casa
(the house)
le le case
(the houses)
Before vowels l’ l’automobile
(the car)
le le automobili
(the cars)

La is always used before feminine nouns beginning with any consonant:

  • la nebbia (the fog)
  • la mattina (the morning)
  • la neve (the snow).

“L’” is used before feminine nouns beginning with a vowel:

  • l’ impronta (the print), 
  • l’ estate (the summer) 
  • l’ automobile (the car).

The apostrophe shows the falling of the “a” of l(a).

“Le” is the plural of all feminine nouns beginning with any letter: 

  • le nebbie (the fog), 
  • le mattine (the mornings) 
  • le impronte (the prints)
  • le estati (the summers) 
  • le automobili (the cars)

The Feminine Indefinite Article

As in English, in Italian, the indefinite article is used to talk about someone or something that has not been named before.

Moreover, this article is used to talk about people or things in a generic way, without specific references.

For the feminine in Italian there are 2 indefinite articles in singular and one in plural:

Singular Plural
Before consonants una Una casa (a house) delle delle case (some houses)
Before vowels un’ un’automobile (a car) delle delle automobili  (some cars)

⇑ Back to the Table of Contents – Italian Articles⇑

The Italian Articles for Masculine Nouns

The Masculine Definite Article

Singular Plural
Before consonants il il lupo (the wolf) i i lupi (the wolves)
Before vowels l’ l’odore (the smell) gli gli odori (the smell)
Before S + consonant lo lo studente (the student) gli gli studenti (the students)
Before Z lo lo zoccolo (the hoof) gli gli zoccoli (the hooves)
Before GN lo lo gnomo (the gnome) gli gli gnomi (the gnomes)
Before PN lo lo pneumatico (the tire) gli gli pneumatici (the tires)
Before PS lo lo psichiatra (the psychiatrist) gli gli psichiatri (the psychiatrists)
Before Y lo lo yogurt (the yogurt) gli gli yogurt (the yogurts)

The definite article “lo” is always used before masculine nouns beginning with s + consonant, p + consonant, or z: 

  • lo sguardo (the look), 
  • lo scorpione (the scorpion),
  • lo psicologo (the psychologist)
  • lo pneumatico (the tire) 
  • lo zaino (the backpack).

“L'” is used always before masculine nouns beginning with vowels: 

  • l’odore (the smell),
  •  l’ascensore (the lift), 
  • l’amore (the love).

The apostrophe shows the falling of the “o” of l(o).“Gli” is the plural of lo and l’

  • gli sguardi (the looks), 
  • gli scorpioni (the scorpions), 
  • lo psicologo (the psychologist)
  • gli pneumatici (the tires) 
  • gli zaini (the backpacks), 
  • gli odori (the smells), 
  • gli ascensori (the lifts).

The definite article “il” is always used before masculine nouns beginning with all the consonants when they are followed by a vocal:

  • il falco (the hawk)
  •  il primo raggio (the first beam)
  •  il grano (the wheat)
  • il sale (the salt)

The plural of “il” is always “i”

  • i falchi (the hawks)
  • i primi raggi (the first beams)
  • i sali (the salts)

The Masculine Indefinite Article

What has been said so far is valid for the article determinative but there are also some rules regarding the indefinite article.

In fact for the masculine, we have 2 indefinite articles that correspond to the 3 definite articles as showed below: 

un = il, l’

uno = lo

So all the names that we have listed above and begin with a single consonant or a vovel want the indefinite article “un”.

Vice versa the names that have the determinative article “lo” will get the indefinite article “uno”.

However, for your convenienvìce, here is the complete table:

Singular Plural
Before consonants un un lupo (a wolf) dei dei lupi (some wolves)
Before vowels un un odore (a smell) degli gli odori (some smells)
Before S + consonant lo uno studente (a student) degli degli studenti (tsome students)
Before Z lo uno zoccolo (the hoof) degli degli zoccoli (the hooves)
Before GN lo uno gnomo (the gnome) degli degli gnomi (some gnomes)
Before PN lo uno pneumatico (the tire) degli degli pneumatici (some tires)
Before PS lo uno psichiatra (the psychiatrist) degli degli psichiatri (some psychiatrists)
Before Y lo uno yogurt (the yogurt) degli degli yogurt (some yogurts)

Italian Colors Adjectives

The Italian Articles – A Video about the Definite Articles in Italian

The Italian Articles – A Video about the Indefinite Articles in Italian

The Italian Articles – A Complete Video Lesson

 

Click Here to Learn Italian Personal Pronouns!

⇑ Back to the Table of Contents – Italian Articles⇑

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close