Today we are going to show you how to use possessive adjectives and pronouns in Italian! The topic is not difficult to learn: you only need to pay attention to certain instances of use, in particular when you are speaking about family members (yours or anybody else’s).
POSSESSIVE ADJECTIVES IN ITALIAN
You assign qualities to objects or living beings by using adjectives. Possessive adjectives let you know if something or someone belongs or is related to another person or thing. As turns out with adjectives, in English, possessives do not need to shift their shape when describing the person or the object.
Possessive adjectives in Italian are used differently. They need to show both gender and number agreement. If a word is featured in the feminine gender, then you attach a feminine adjective. When throwing the number agreement in, we find out singulars go with singulars, plurals with plurals. It will become more easy-peasy to learn and practice if you click on the following link, watch the video below and, above all, bear in mind words’ genders and numbers –which you can spot quite effortlessly by looking at the endings.
Let us insert a chart and show examples:
|I miei||La mia||Le mie|
|I tuoi||La tua||Le sue|
|I suoi||La sua|
|Il nostro||I nostri||La nostra|
|Il vostro||I vostri||La vostra|
|Il loro||I loro||La loro|
Notice something peculiar? We hope so. When you learn Italian, it is important to keep in mind that possessive adjectives tend to come along with an article (il, i, la, le) which will also go under the gender and number agreement rules. Also, these nouns and adjectives can be placed anywhere in the sentence, regardless of their grammatical function. For example:
- Puoi passare da me con il mio libro? (Can you please drop by my place with my book?, masculine, singular, it works as an adverbial phrase)
- Le nostre scarpe sono fatte in cuoio (Our shoes are made of leather, feminine, plural, it is the subject)
- Di notte, ascoltiamo abbaiare i vostri cani (We hear your dogs bark in the night, masculine, plural, you see it appear as a direct object)
- La loro casa è quella laggiù (Their house is the one over there, feminine, singular, once again the subject)
You almost always find the article before the possessive adjective. However, be careful when it comes to family words, when they are singular.
Look at these examples:
- Mia madre non è proprio bionda (My mother is not exactly blonde)
- Vostro zio lavora bene con gli attrezzi (You uncle works well with tools)
- Il fisico di tua sorella mi sembra veramente mozzafiato (Your sister’s looks seem really breathtaking to me)
- La loro cugina si è laureata con 110 e lode (Their cousin is an honor graduate)
Loro is always an article-friendly possessive adjective.
Just take into consideration:
- Informal, affectionate family words do take the article in the singular and, certainly, in the plural: La mia mamma fa una lasagna da urlo (Mom makes an awesome lasagna); Il tuo fratellino fa troppo casino (Your little brother is too loud/noisy); Sono gemmelle le vostre cuginette? (Are your little cousins twins?)
- The article is present with family words in plural at all times: Vorresti presentarci le tue zie? (Would you introduce your aunts to us?) Quando vi va di andare a trovare i vostri genitori? (When would you like to visit your parents?)
POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS IN ITALIAN
We avoid excessive use of nouns by replacing them with pronouns once we know who or what we are talking about. In English, you link pronouns to verbs because you would otherwise not be certain of the doer’s identity: English verbs lack plasticity and cannot tell by themselves who the doer is. Not an issue with Italian pronouns.
More importantly, possessive pronouns in Italian help clarify or differentiate. First, let us introduce the Italian possessive pronouns chart:
- Sono queste le tue matite? (Are these your pencils?)
- No, sono vostre (No, they’re yours)
- Dopo aver pagato per anni il mutuo, finalmente la casa è nostra (Upon years of the mortgage payment, the house is finally ours)
- Riempi tu il calice di Marianna? (Shall you fill Marianna’s cup?)
- Sì, tu riempi quello mio, io mi occupo del suo (Yes, you fill mine, I take care of hers)
Interestingly, there is still a very brief thing to say about family words: you may refer to your parents (genitori) as a whole identity if just relying on the possessive pronouns in Italian: when you say I miei, I tuoi, it will be understood you mean My/Your parents/folks. If you are receiving a phone call from abroad, it is perfectly said to go:
- Vuoi che ti passi i miei? (Would you like me to put my folks on the line?)
Keep in mind that, as all the other pronouns, loro should not need the article in most cases.
- Non è merito nostro, ma loro (It is not an achievement of ours, but theirs)
ONE LAST WORD
We are at the end of our lesson on possessive adjectives and pronouns in Italian. As usual, it has been our pleasure to help you on this journey. Our last recommendation to learn Italian is: keep up the practice!
Now that you know everything about the possessive adjectives and pronouns in Italian, discover the Italian future tense!