As a general rule, possessive adjectives are preceded by an article and this is still the case when discussing family members in the plural. However, the article is NOT used with family members in the singular.
- Mio padre è un idraulico. (My father is a plumber.)
- Mia sorella e tuo fratello sono amici. (My sister and your brother are friends.)
- I miei genitori mangiano frutta. (My parents eat fruit).
- I tuoi fratelli sono entrambi alti. (Your brothers are both tall.)
Another confusing caveat to this however, is that the definite article IS still used with singular nouns that are variations of the basic form:
- il papà (dad)
- la mamma (mom)
- il fratellino (little brother)
TIPS: While nonno (grandfather) and nonna (grandmother) are most commonly used, you can also refer to grandparents as nonnino and nonnina.
Some of us are fortunate enough to also have a bisnonno (great grandfather) and a bisnonna (great grandmother).
|il nipote||nephew, niece, grandchild|
|il bisnonno||great grandfather|
|la bisnonna||great grandmother|
Why is it “mamma, dov’è il papà”? Why is the “il” necessary?
Hi Margo! Thanks for the great catch! There is a caveat to that whole confusing rule. I have added it in the notes above. I hope that clears things up for you. Thanks for using the site!