Italian grammar

Italian subject pronouns

Learn the Italian subject pronouns!

Italian subject pronouns

In Italian the verbs follows a conjugation pattern that distinguishes six persons: three singular and three plural.

singular1stioI
2ndtuyou
3rdlui | lei | Lei he | she | polite you
plural1stnoiwe
2ndvoiyou (all)
3rdlorothey

In Italian the 3rd person singular distinguishes between male (lui) and female (lei). The plural doesn’t make such distinction and has only one form (loro).

You also distinguish between talking to one person (tu) and to more than one (voi).

There is also a polite form, when you talk to someone and you want to show respect. For the polite form, the feminine 3rd person singular is used: lei. That means that lei means both 1) “she” and 2) “you” when you are speaking formally, no matter if you are talking to a man or a woman. In this last case, Lei is normally capitalized.

leishe (sg.)
a woman
Lei è Fiona e abita a Roma.She’s Fiona and she lives in Rome.
LeiYou (polite)
mr. / ms.
Signor Rossi, Lei abita a Roma?Mr. Rossi, do you live in Rome?

Learn more about the polite form in Italian in our lesson The Italian polite form.

Alternative pronouns

In Italian there are other pronouns for the 3rd person singular and plural. However these pronouns are very old-fashioned and not much used anymore, even in the written and formal language.

masculinefeminine
3rd singularlui, egli, essolei, ella, essa
3rd pluralloro, essiloro, esse

Use of subject pronouns

In Italian you don’t need to say the subject pronoun explicitly, since the person is usually clear through the verb ending or the context. So you normally say:

Sono Fiona.I’m Fiona.
Abbiamo un gatto.We have a cat.
Dove abiti?Where do you live?

You need to say the subject pronouns when you emphasize that it’s about a certain person, for example when you introduce someone, or when you talk about two people, in order to make it clear who you are talking about. In general you should consider that when your sentence may be unclear, you better add the pronoun.

Loro sono Anna e Matteo. They are Anna and Matteo.
Lei abita a Milano, invece lui abita a Roma.She lives in Rom, whereas he lives in Milan.

Esercizio

1. I pronomi soggetto

Learn more about the polite form in Italian in our lesson The Italian polite form.

Toto Cutugno l'italiano

Toto Cutugno – l’Italiano

Listening to Italian music is a perfect way to improve your Italian skills. For our course A1.1, Unit 1, we have chosen to work with a classic song: L’Italiano by Toto Cutugno. Surely you know the refrain: Lasciatemi cantare, sono un italiano! No? Well, then it’s time to listen to this classic of the Italian music! Download the material, listen to the song and do the exercises. Below you’ll find the lyrics text and the translation of the song. Sing along!

L’Italiano by Toto Cutugno

Testo italiano

Lasciatemi cantare
Con la chitarra in mano
Lasciatemi cantare
Sono un italiano

Buon giorno Italia, gli spaghetti al dente
E un partigiano come presidente
Con l‘autoradio sempre nella mano destra
E un canarino sopra la finestra

Buongiorno Italia con i tuoi artisti
Con troppa America sui manifesti
Con le canzoni, con amore, con il cuore
Con più donne sempre meno suore

Buon giorno Italia, buon giorno Maria
Con gli occhi pieni di malinconia
Buon giorno Dio
Lo sai che ci sono anch‘io

Lasciatemi cantare
Con la chitarra in mano
Lasciatemi cantare
Una canzone piano piano
Lasciatemi cantare
Perché ne sono fiero
Sono un italiano
Un italiano vero


Buon giorno Italia che non si spaventa
Con la crema da barba alla menta
Con un vestito gessato sul blu
E la moviola la domenica in TV
Buon giorno Italia col caffè ristretto
Le calze nuove nel primo cassetto
Con la bandiera in tintoria
E una 600 giù di carrozzeria

Buon giorno Italia, buon giorno Maria
Con gli occhi pieni di malinconia
Buongiorno Dio
Lo sai che ci sono anch‘io

Lasciatemi cantare
Con la chitarra in mano
Lasciatemi cantare
Una canzone piano piano
Lasciatemi cantare
Perché ne sono fiero
Sono un italiano
Un italiano vero

Lasciatemi cantare
Con la chitarra in mano
Lasciatemi cantare
Una canzone piano piano
Lasciatemi cantare
Perché ne sono fiero
Sono un italiano
Un italiano vero

Translation

Let me sing
with the guitar in the hand
Let me sing
I’m an Italian

Good morning Italy, spaghetti al dente
And a partisan as president
With the car radio always in my right hand
And a canary above the window

Good morning Italy with your artists
With too much America on the posters
With the songs, with love, with the heart
With more women fewer and fewer nuns

Good morning Italy, good morning Maria
With eyes full of melancholy
Good morning God
You know I‘m here too

Let me sing
With the guitar in the hand
Let me sing
a song very slowly
Let me sing
Because I‘m proud of it
I’m an Italian
A real Italian


Good morning Italy that doesn‘t get scared
And with the mint shaving cream
With a blue pinstripe suit
And sport highlights on Sunday on TV.
Good morning Italy with ristretto coffee
New socks in the first drawer
With the flag at the dry cleaners
And a 600 with the body down

Good morning Italy, good morning Maria
With eyes full of melancholy
Good morning God
You know I‘m here too

Let me sing
With the guitar in the hand
Let me sing
a song very slowly
Let me sing
Because I‘m proud of it
I’m an Italian
A real Italian

Let me sing
With the guitar in the hand
Let me sing
a song very slowly
Let me sing
Because I‘m proud of it
I’m an Italian
A real Italian