Definite articles in Italian vary depending on gender (masculine and feminine), number (singular and plural) and the beginning letter of the following word. It may be sound a bit complicated, but you’ll surely learn the definite articles pretty quickly. Let’s learn together the rules of the definite article in Italian!
Definite articles in Italian
The definite article is used – as in English – to refer back to something known or already mentioned. In Italian, nouns and articles have two genders, masculine and feminine, and they can be either singular or plural. For example, il cane the dog is a masculine singular noun. For the definite articles it is also important to see which is the first letter of the following word. Have a look at the table with the rules.
The masculine has four articles: il and lo for the singular, i and gli for the plural. Bevor vowels, the o of lo is dropped, becoming l’.
|before consonant||il cane||i cani||dog|
|before vowel||l’amico||gli amici||friend|
*Besides s+consonant and z, there are further peculiar cases: y (lo yogurt), x (lo xilofono), gn (lo gnomo), ps (lo psicologo).
The feminine has two articles: la for the singular and le for the plural. The a of la is dropped before vowels, becoming l’.
|before consonant||la mucca||le mucche||cow|
|before vowel||l’isola||le isole||island|
1. Gli articoli
In order to use the articles appropriately, you should know if the word is feminine or masculine. To learn more about Italian nouns and their gender, you can read this article: Masculine and feminine.