Lezione 19-Partitive articles

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Buongiorno! O buonasera... anzi, che ore sono da te?

Hehe-that all means: Good day! Or good evening... actually, what time is it where you are/by you?

Today is a day all about partitive articles (articoli partitivi). Buona fortuna!


Partitive articles introduce a part of a whole or an indefinite quantity. They are composed by the simple preposition "di" plus the definite article:

Articles: il lo l' la i gli le

Di +


*Together, these all mean 'some/a few/any'.* You use them based on the gender, number and sound that follows, as explained in other cases.


Del, dello, dell' and della are all singular, these are treated as singular partitive articles for a noun considered uncountable:

-Vorrei del pane (I would like some bread- you wouldn't say 'some breads/two breads'-always bread-pane)

-Vuoi del caffé? (Would you like some coffee?)

-Hanno bevuto della grappa (They drank some grappa).


Whereas the last three partitive articles dei, degli, delle are used for countable nouns:

-Ho dei libri interessanti = I have some interesting books.

-Hai degli amici buoni = You have some good friends.

-Ci sono delle amiche a casa = There are some (female) friends at home.

-Queste sono delle pagine vuote=These are some empty pages.

-Hai degli animali domestici?=Do you have any domestic animals?


Usually, in the singular form, the partitive article can be replaced by "un po' di"-a bit of, and doesn't change no matter what gender, number or sound follows:

Vorrei del burro = Vorrei un po' di burro (I would like some butter)

Vuoi della farina? = Vuoi un po' di farina? (Would you like a little bit of flour?)

Hai bevuto della grappa? = Hai bevuto un po' di grappa? (Did you drink some grappa?)

I must stress that it is more common to use del and the other partitive forms after c'è or ci sono, as in English:

C'è del pane in cucina?-Is there some bread in the kitchen?

Ci sono dei gatti nel giardino-There are some cats in the garden.

I bet you're curious as to know how to answer such questions, hehe. If you want to know, keep on reading, otherwise go onto the next lezione.


At this point you must use the particle ne-meaning 'of it/of them' depending on context. Pronounce it simply as 'neh'.

Is there some bread in the kitchen? Yes, there is (some).

C'è del pane in cucina? Sì, ce n'è.

There are cats in the garden. No, there aren't (any).

Ci sono dei gatti nel giardino. No, non ce ne sono.


It looks confusing but allow me to explain before giving up hope!


Firstly, Ne can join another word like 'è'-'is'.

Since there are already two 'e's' (ne+è), the first is taken away and the other (more important) 'è' takes its place=n'è (pronounced like 'neh' as well).

As for ce, meaning 'there' but no longer the ci we learnt before, remember this: ci ALWAYS becomes ce before ne. So you will always see ce ne (or ce n'è or ce ne sono), meaning there (is/are)... some.


C'è del pane-There is some bread=

Ce n'è-There is some (of it-the bread in this case)

Non ci sono dei gatti nel giardino-There are no cats in the garden=

Non ce ne sono-There aren't any (of them-the cats in this case). Lit.: Not there any are.

Alla prossima!

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