Indefinite and definite articles

Indefinite articles

The indefinite article (=English “a” or “an”) has the following forms in Italian:

Masculine                                               Feminine

un (default masculine form)                  una (default feminine form)

uno (before z or s+consonant)1             un’ (before a vowel)2


This applies to any consonant after s (sp; st; sb, sc)

This applies to any vowel.


Definite articles

The definite article (=English “the”) has the following forms in Italian:

Singular Plural Singular Plural
default form                   il i Before cons.            la le
Before z or s+cons)       lo gli Before vowel           l’ le/l’
Before vowel                 l’ gli/gl’

*gli may become gl’ before a word beginning with i.

NOTE: Although the gender and number of the definite article are determined by the gender and number of the noun it modifies, the precise form to be used is determined by whatever word immediately follows the definite article: il signore but l’altro signore and lo stesso signore (stesso = “same”) l’amica but la stessa amica.



Italian for Reading & Translation Copyright © by Lauren Surovi and Carleton W. Carroll. All Rights Reserved.

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