(from Duolingo)

Italian possessives are in the form definite article (il, la, i, le) + possessive adjective. They agree with the gender and number of the thing they describe:

  • My, Mine:  il mio, la mia, i miei, le mie
  • Your, Yours (sing):  il tuo, la tua, i tuoi, le tue
  • His, Hers, Its:  il suo, la sua, i suoi, le sue
  • Our, Ours:  il nostro, la nostra, i nostri, le nostre
  • Your, Yours (plur)il vostro, la vostra, i vostri, le vostre
  • Their, Theirs:  il loro, la loro, i loro, le loro

il mio cane (my dog) | Cane is masculine singular, so we use il and mio.

la mia pizza (my pizza) | Pizza is feminine singular, so we use la and mia.

Even though in English the possessive in the third person (his, her, its) varies based on the owner, remember that in Italian the gender and number are determined by the thing being owned:

il cane di Giulia > il suo cane | Cane is masculine, so we use the masculine, even though it is “her” dog.

Possessive pronouns (possessives acting as a noun) are formed using the definite article and the possessive. They agree with the object they describe, even if it is not explicitly mentioned in the sentence:

Dov’è la tua macchina? (Where is your car?) | La mia è qui.  (Mine is here.) | It is understood that “la mia” refers to my car, so it is feminine.

TIP: In Italian an article is almost always mandatory before a possessive. The exceptions are:

  • It’s not used before close family members, in the singular and not modified, e.g. “mio padre” (my father), unless the possessive is “loro” (in which case the article is needed).
  • It’s optional when the possessive adjective is alone following a form of “essere,” e.g. “è mio” (it’s mine).
  • It’s not used in a small number of set phrases, e.g. “casa mia” (my home).

(by DuoItalian)

The Italian word proprio has many meanings and uses. For the purposes of this lesson, it is a possessive adjective meaning “one’s own” or “of one’s own”. It can be used in place of suo and loro, often in a cleaner and more precise manner.

  • Lui ha arrivato con la propria macchina. (He arrived in his own car.)
  • Donatello ama il proprio lavoro. (Donatello loves his “own” job.)

TIP: The possessive can sometimes come AFTER the noun to give it more meaning, emotion, or emphasis.

  •  il mio amico → amico mio!
  • la mia figlia → figlia mia!
  • e’ il mio cane → e’ il cane mio!

(from YouTube)

(from Duolingo)
I miei cani mangiano carne.My dogs eat meat.
Tuo fratello suona la chitarra.Your brother plays the guitar.
Le sue sorelle sono divertenti.His sisters are funny.
I loro genitori sono molto vecchi.Their parents are very old.
La loro nonna si chiama Maria.Their grandmother's name is Maria.
Nostro padre è un contadino.Our father is a farmer.
Io ho i vostri panini.I have your sandwiches.
La ragazza mangia i propri biscotti.The girl eats her own cookies.
Posso giocare con i tuoi cani?Can I play with your dogs?
Il mio gatto beve latte.My cat drinks milk.
La sua macchina è gialla.His car is yellow.
Le farfalle sono nostre.The butterflies are ours.
Insegna il proprio figlio.Teach your child.
Lui ha la mia giacca.He has my jacket.
I libri sono nostri.The books are ours.


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