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.
- 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).
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.)
- il mio amico → amico mio!
- la mia figlia → figlia mia!
- e’ il mio cane → e’ il cane mio!
|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.|
Could you please explain the example “I suoi sorelle sono divertenti”? Shouldn’t it read “le sue sorelle sono divertenti” instead? As “sorella” is female? Grazie!
Ciao Eleni! My apologies, but you are correct that I had some errors in those sentences. They have been corrected on both this page and on the Quizlet page.
Just a lack of time to properly proof all of the material on the site. Thank you for pointing them out to me and please continue to communicate any other mistakes that you find.
I am very happy that you are finding the site useful!
Ciao Kevin! Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly! Much appreciated. With this opportunity, please also let me thank you for the amazing work you’ve done here in general. I am studying your notes and review sections together with Duolingo and I find Duoitalian to be an excellent studying complement! 🙂
Ciao Eleni! Grazie per le tue parole gentili e per l’utilizzo del sito. Sono sempre alla ricerca di modi per migliorare il sito.
Here is a great site to check your translations: https://www.reverso.net/text-translation
Ciao Kevin! In the example “Insegna il proprio figlio. Teach your child.” above, should “insegna” be “insegni”? Many thanks!
Ciao Margo! I believe “insegna” is correct in this particular sentence, as it is being treated as an imperative verb (or command) in this case.
See here for more information on imperative verbs: https://www.duoitalian.com/duolingo/imperative-verbs/
Thanks so much for visiting the site and for commenting! I hope to receive more questions and comments from you in the future.