Lezione 7-Articles

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Today is a relatively important lesson in which we will learn the definite and the indefinite articles.


What are they in English?

Risposta (answer): The words we use to indicate an object or person: the and a/an.

The is a definite article because it defines what we are talking about, whereas A/An is an indefinite article because it is unsure what object we are discussing.

EX: I saw the dog that bit me.

       I saw a dog that bit me.

There IS a difference: in the first sentence, the listener knows which dog you are talking about, and in the second, he either isn't sure or doesn't know.


 In Italian, there are many different articles that change based on the gender of the noun following them. Unlike English, where there aren't any nouns with a real gender, in Italian they can be either masculine or feminine.

 In order to distinguish a masculine noun from a feminine one, there is usually an -o at the end of a singular masculine noun and an -a at the end of a feminine one IN ITS SINGULAR FORM.

If they are plural, then the masculine nouns tend to end with -i and the feminine ones with -e.

 Therefore you have to use the following articles based on their gender and number (singular or plural).

*VIDEO-Watch until roughly 6:23 in order not to get confused!


In Italian there are 7 definite articles and four indefinite ones: Il, Lo, L', Gli, I, La, Le all meaning the; Un, Uno, Una and Un' all meaning a/an:

Masculine Definite articles:

Il-masculine singular. Example: Il ragazzo (the boy)/Il bambino (the little boy).

Why? Ragazzo and bambino end with -o so they are both masculine and singular. (You say masculine singular in this case-maschile singolare).

I-Masculine plural of Il and used for masculine plural nouns.

EX: I ragazzi/I bambini/I cani (il cane-singular. I cani-plural)

 The boys/the little children/the dogs.

Lo-masculine singular used for masculine nouns beginning with H, GN, S+ consonant, J, Y, PS, PN, X and Z.

In the examples I highlighted Lo, the consonants at the beginning of the noun and the termination of the noun -o to show their correspondence, i.e why lo is used.


Lo stadio (The stadium)/Lo sbaglio (The mistake)/Lo psicologo (The male psychologist)/Lo xilofono (The xylophone)/Lo scoiattolo (The squirrel-pronounced 'squoy-ATT-oloh')/Lo gnomo (The gnome)/Lo zaino (The rucksack)/Lo zio (The uncle).

 Would you like an example with H? Lo Hobbit =D

L'-either masculine or feminine singular used for words beginning with a vowel.


  L'ape (Bee-feminine)/L'ombrello (The umbrella-masculine)

L'università (The University-feminine)/L'anno (The year-masculine)

Gli-Masculine plural of Lo and l' IF masculine.


  Gli stadi (The stadiums)/Gli sbagli (The mistakes)/Gli psicologi (The psychologists)/Gli gnomi (the gnomes)/Gli zii (The uncles/The uncles and aunts).

 L'anno becomes gli anni, l'ombrello becomes gli ombrelli etc.

Feminine Definite Articles:

La-Femminine Singular. Example: La ragazza/La bambina (The girl/the little girl).

Le-Feminine plural of la and l'. (Le is pronounced 'Leh', not 'Luh' like French.)

Ex.: Le ragazze/Le bambine (The girls/The little girls).

 L'ape becomes le api.

*Ape becomes api in plural form, just like cane (cani), despite their gender difference.

L'università becomes le università.

(Wait, what?! Why isn't Università 'université' in the plural form? Because in Italian, the rule is to never change the ending of a word with an accentuated mark on the last letter. L'Università-the university. Le università-the universities.

Masculine Indefinite articles:

Un-Masculine singular.

EX: Un amico (A friend)/Un gatto (A cat)/Un anno (A year)/Un cane (A dog)*.

*Some masculine nouns can end with -e instead of -o in their singular form, just like cane. The trick is to memorize which ones are masculine singular or feminine plural, in order not to get confused.

Uno-Masculine singular but functions like lo.

Ex.: Uno sbaglio (A mistake)/Uno gnomo (A gnome)/Uno psicologo (A psychologist) etc.

Feminine indefinite articles:

Una- Feminine singular. Ex.: Una donna (A woman)/Una penna (A pen) thus making this article the opposite of Un as an indefinite article and the equivalent to la as a definite article.

Un'-Feminine singular for nouns beginning with a vowel (optional-you may also use 'una')

Un'ape (A bee)/Un'amica (A female friend) BUT you may also say Una ape or Una amica, but this form is not so used.


Ok.. it seems like a lot, but hang in there! For now, get yourself a fresh glass of water and smile =D

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