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

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…

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

SingularPluralBefore consonantslala casa
(the house)lele case
(the houses)Before vowelsl’l’automobile
(the car)lele 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:

SingularPluralBefore consonantsunaUna casa (a house)delledelle case (some houses)Before vowelsun’un’automobile (a car)delledelle automobili  (some cars)

The Italian Articles for Masculine Nouns

The Masculine Definite Article

SingularPluralBefore consonantsilil lupo (the wolf)ii lupi (the wolves)Before vowelsl’l’odore (the smell)gligli odori (the smell)Before S + consonantlolo studente (the student)gligli studenti (the students)Before Zlolo zoccolo (the hoof)gligli zoccoli (the hooves)Before GNlolo gnomo (the gnome)gligli gnomi (the gnomes)Before PNlolo pneumatico (the tire)gligli pneumatici (the tires)Before PSlolo psichiatra (the psychiatrist)gligli psichiatri (the psychiatrists)Before Ylolo yogurt (the yogurt)gligli 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:

SingularPluralBefore consonantsunun lupo (a wolf)deidei lupi (some wolves)Before vowelsunun odore (a smell)degligli odori (some smells)Before S + consonantlouno studente (a student)deglidegli studenti (tsome students)Before Zlouno zoccolo (the hoof)deglidegli zoccoli (the hooves)Before GNlouno gnomo (the gnome)deglidegli gnomi (some gnomes)Before PNlouno pneumatico (the tire)deglidegli pneumatici (some tires)Before PSlouno psichiatra (the psychiatrist)deglidegli psichiatri (some psychiatrists)Before Ylouno yogurt (the yogurt)deglidegli yogurt (some yogurts)

Italian Colors Adjectives

 

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