Italian Indefinite Articles - Articoli Indeterminativi

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The Italian indefinite article (l'articolo indeterminativo) corresponds to English a/an and is used with singular nouns. It also corresponds to the number one.

INDEFINITE ARTICLES

MASCHILEFEMMINILE
uno zio (uncle)una zia (aunt)
un cugino (cousin, m.)una cugina (cousin, f.)
un amico (friend, m.)un’amica (friend, f.)

Uno is used for masculine words beginning with z or s + consonantun is used for all other masculine words.

 Una is used for feminine words beginning with a consonant; un’ is used for feminine words beginning with a vowel.

un treno e una bicicletta
un aeroplano e un’automobile
uno stadio e una stazione

How to Use Italian Indefinite Articles​

In Italian, an article is the variable part of discourse that appears before the noun to specify the gender and number of the noun. An adjective can be placed between the article and noun:

Il viaggio in Turchia è una buona idea per le prossime vacanze.
The trip to Turkey is a good idea for your next vacation.

È stato un viaggio molto interessante.
It was a very interesting trip.

I ragazzi si alzino in piedi, le ragazze restino sedute.
The boys stand up, the girls remain seated.

Lo sport è un'attività salutare per gli adolescenti.
Sport is a healthy pursuit for teenagers.

NOTE: The article gives value to the noun and any other part of speech it precedes:

Il mangiar troppo non giova alla salute.


Overeating is not conducive to one's health.

Lo strano della storia è che nessuno udì lo sparo.
The odd part of the story is that no one heard the shot.

Bene, il più è fatto!
Well, the job is done!

In Italian, an article can either be a definite article (articolo determinativo), an indefinite article (articolo indeterminativo), or a partitive article (articolo partitivo).

Indefinite Article
In Italian, the indefinite article is placed before the noun to indicate a generic, uncountable noun. It is also used before the names of professions as well as with common names or surnames to indicate a work of art. In English, indefinite articles correspond to the terms "a" and "an." It has the following forms:

MASCULINE (singular): ununo
FEMININE (singular): unaun'

  • un is used before a masculine noun that starts with a vowel or consonant:

un amico
a friend

un giorno
one day

un tavolo
a table

NOTE: un is never followed by an apostrophe.

  • uno pressed a word that starts with:

» s impura (s + consonant)

uno scontrino
a receipt

uno specchio
a mirror

uno svago
a diversion

» y semiconsonantica (semivowel y)

uno yogurt
a yogurt

uno yacht
a yacht

» gnpsx, and z

uno gnomo
a gnome

uno psicologo
a psychologist

uno xenofobo
a xenophobic

uno zaino
a backpack

  • una is used before a feminine word that begins with a consonant:

una madre
a mother

una zia
an aunt

  • un' is used before a feminine word that begins with a vowel:

un'automobile
a car

un'amica
a friend

NOTE: The indefinite article has no plural form; however it can be implied:

» by omitting the article:

Leggo giornali.
I am reading newspapers.

Mangio pere e mele.


I am eating pears and apples.

» with the partitive article, with the suggestion of qualchealcuni, or un po' di:

Prendo caffè e dei biscotti.
I'm having coffee and biscuits.

Vorrei comprare dei libri.
I would like to buy books.

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Filippo, Michael San. "Italian Indefinite Articles - Articoli Indeterminativi." ThoughtCo, Sep. 22, 2017, thoughtco.com/italian-indefinite-articles-4092996. Filippo, Michael San. (2017, September 22). Italian Indefinite Articles - Articoli Indeterminativi. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/italian-indefinite-articles-4092996 Filippo, Michael San. "Italian Indefinite Articles - Articoli Indeterminativi." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/italian-indefinite-articles-4092996 (accessed November 18, 2017).