Italian Definite Articles

In Italian, similarly to the other Romance languages (e.g., French), all nouns have a gender and number associated with them. When learning a new language a good starting point is always articles, gender and number. In this page we introduce and explain to you the Definite Articles.

Gli Articoli Determinativi | (Definite Articles)

In Italian, the articles identify the gender and number of nouns. The articles can be either masculine or feminine, as well as singular or plural. One of the challenges for beginners is understanding the gender and how to recognize masculine vs. feminine nouns.

Articoli Femminili | (Feminine Articles)

The Italian language only has 2 feminine definite articles for the singular form (la + l’) and 1 for the plural form (le):





Before a consonantlala pizzalele pizze
Before a vowell’l’amicale amiche
For example:
  • La matita (The pencil)Le matite (The pencils)
  • La valigia (The suitcase)Le valigie (The suitcases)
  • L’ape (The bee) – Le api (The bees)
  • L’acqua (The water)Le acque (The waters)

Articoli Maschili | (Masculine Articles)

The masculine articles are a bit more complex than the feminine ones and follow a few particular rules, which will dictate which article to use for each word. There are 3 masculine definite articles for the singular form (il + l’ + lo) and 2 for the plural form (i + gli):

 Singolare Plurale 
Before a consonantilil bicchiereii bicchieri
Before a vowell’l’alberogligli alberi


S + consonant






lo stato

lo zero

lo gnocco

lo psicologo

lo yacht

lo pneumatico

gli stati

gli zeri

gli gnocchi

gli psicologi

gli yacht

gli pneumatici

For Example:
  • Il cappello (The hat) – I cappelli (The hats)
  • Il gatto (The cat) – I gatti (The dogs)
  • L’orso (The bear) – Gli orsi (The bears)
  • L’ufficio (The office) – Gli uffici (The offices)
  • Lo specchio (The mirror) – Gli specchi (The mirrors)
  • Lo zoo (The zoo) – Gli zoo (The zoos)
  • Lo gnomo The gnome – Gli gnomi The gnomes
  • Lo psichiatra (The psychiatrist) – Gli psichiatri (The psychiatrists)
  • Lo yogurt (The yoghurt) – Gli yogurt (The yoghurts)
  • Lo pneumologo  (The pulmonologist) – Gli pneumologi (The pulmonologists)

When are the Articoli Determinativi used?

Depending on the situation, a definitive article may or may not be necessary. Below are a list of cases where definitive articles are needed:

  • When you want to indicate a specific person or object

Questa è la penna di Marco – (This is Marco’s pen)
La giacca di Sara è molto bella – (Sara’s coat is very beautiful)

  • When a possessive adjective or pronoun is used

Mi piace il tuo cane – (I like your dog)
Il tuo appartamento è al primo piano, il mio è al quarto – (Your apartment is on the first floor, mine is on the fourth)

  • When there are abstract or general nouns, that includes colors

L’amore è una cosa bellissima – (Love is very beautiful thing)
Gli piace il verde – (He likes green)

  • When referring to body parts or clothes

Domani mi metto la gonna – (Tomorrow I’m going to wear a skirt)
Mi fa male la gamba – (My leg hurts)

  • When referring to dates (*unless the day of the week is mentioned before)

Il mio esame è il 12 Marzo – (My exam is the 12th of March)
*Il mio esame è lunedì 12 Marzo – (My exam is Monday the 12th of March)
Mi laureo il 10 Settembre 2025 – (I’ll graduate on the 10th of September 2025)

  • When referring to times or other expressions of time

Sono le sette e mezza – (It’s half past seven)
La sera vado a dormire alle 22:00 – (I go to bed at 10 at night)

  • When talking about routines that happen on the days of the week

Il venerdì e il sabato studiamo italiano – (On Fridays and Saturdays we study Italian)
Il mercoledì e la domenica faccio le pulizie in casa – (On Wednesdays and Sundays I do chores around the house)

  • When referring to physical descriptions with the verb “avere” (to have)

Marta ha i capelli scuri – (Marta has dark hair)
Paolo ha gli occhi marroni – (Paolo has hazel eyes)

  • When using titles or qualifications together with names

Il Dottor Rossi è molto paziente – (Doctor Rossi is very patient)
La regina è molto importante – (The queen is very important)

  • When referring to most geographical names (*except cities and when using the prepositions “in” or “di” for feminine singular geographical names)

L’Italia è bellissima – (Italy is beautiful)
Il Piemonte è una regione italiana – (Piedmont is an Italian region)
*Vado a vivere in America – (I’m going to live in America)
*Il mio amico è di Bologna – (My friend is from Bologna)

  • Also, in the Northern regions of Italy they are sometimes used when talking about friends or family members colloquially

La Francesca viene a pranzo da noi domenica – (Francesca is coming for lunch on Sunday)
Il Simone è sempre in ritardo! – (Simone is always late!)

Italian Articles
Not erroneous… but you can do better!

When are the Articoli Determinativi NOT used?

Some cases do not require the definitive article before the noun. Below are the specific instances:

  • When referring to languages and using the verbs “parlare, insegnare, studiare” or after the prepositions “in” and “di”

Mattia parla francese abbastanza bene – (Mattia speaks French pretty well)
Non so scrivere in spagnolo – (I can’t write in Spanish)
*Capisco il tedesco, ma non l‘inglese – (I understand German, but not English)

  • When talking about family members and using singular possessive adjectives (*except for singular family members with the possessive adjective “loro” or when names have been made more colloquial)

Mia sorella si chiama Lucrezia – (My sister is called Lucrezia)
Mia madre ha 54 anni – (My mother is 54 years old)
*Il loro figlio vive a New York – (Their son lives in New York)
*Non vedo l’ora di conoscere la loro nipote – (I can’t wait to meet their niece)
*Il mio cuginetto si chiama Stefano – (My little cousin is called Stefano)
*La mia sorellina ha 6 mesi – (My little sister is 6 months old)

  • When referring to names of cities  (*some exceptions are La Spezia, L’Aquila, L’Avana, Il Cairo, La Mecca)

Roma è una città antica, Los Angeles è una città moderna – (Rome is an old city, Los Angeles is a modern city)
*L’Avana si trova a Cuba – (L’Avana is in Cuba)

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