The simple preposition di can be combined with an article to form what is called una preposizione articolata. In doing this, it is transformed a bit, so this is just something we need to learn. Marika has a video series about the prepositions, and begins with the common preposition di. In this lesson we will set out to put things in a visual context with a list of how di can combine with definite articles, and we'll give you some examples from Yabla videos, so you can hear them in context.
Here is how we combine the preposition di with the various definite articles (that all mean "the"): The main thing to notice is that the i in di is transformed in e.
di + il = del
di + lo = dello
di + l’ = dell’
di + la = della
di + i = dei
di + gli = degli
di + le = delle
Let's look at each combination in context:
It will usually precede a masculine noun or the adjective that describes it.
In tutte le città del mondo ci sono ristoranti italiani.
In all the cities of the world, there are Italian restaurants.
Caption 8, Adriano Pizzeria Pinocchio - Part 1Play Caption
In the following example, note that before the noun there is an adjective, famoso (famous) which also agrees with the masculine noun.
Pinocchio è il protagonista del famoso romanzo dell'autore Collodi:
Pinocchio is the main character of the famous novel by the author Collodi:
Caption 29, Adriano Pizzeria Pinocchio - Part 1Play Caption
Note that there is another example of dello in the title of the episode. Translated it would be: The shark's gold.
Chi ha aggiustato la porta dello spogliatoio?
Who fixed the door of the locker room?
Caption 30, La Ladra Ep. 3 - L'oro dello squalo - Part 13Play Caption
In the following example, even though we say il colore, not
lo colore, we do use di plus the definite article lo and it becomes dello. This is because before the noun, we have the adjective stesso which begins with an s + the consonant t. So we need the definite article lo. Like when we say: È lo stesso (It's all the same). That's something to remember. Later in this lesson, we will look at a similar construction with a feminine noun.
E una bella borsa dello stesso colore.
And a nice handbag of the same color.
Caption 37, Corso di italiano con Daniela I colori - Part 3Play Caption
Le pulizie della casa, dell'appartamento si chiamano anche "faccende domestiche" oppure "pulizie casalinghe".
The cleaning of the house, of the apartment, is also called "housework" or "household cleaning."
Captions 32-33, Marika spiega Le pulizie di primavera - Part 1Play Caption
Sometimes this same construction turns out to be feminine! It's a truncated version of della, which we'll look at next.This can be a headache for learners:
Io mi occupo della contabilità dell'azienda.
I take care of the accounts of the business.Play Caption
La grande tragedia della guerra lascia memorie che non si cancellano.
The great tragedy of the war leaves memories that don't get erased.
Caption 43, L'arte della cucina Terre d'Acqua - Part 5Play Caption
Now let's move on to di plus a plural definite article.
Da quando in qua un uomo si deve occupare dei neonati?
Since when should a man have to take care of [the] newborns?Play Caption
Note that Italian uses the definite article, where in English, none is necessary. This is common and takes some effort in getting used to it.
In the next example, we have the combined preposition followed by the possessive pronoun miei (the plural masculine form of mio). Here too, the article is there (attached to di = dei ).
È una ricetta dei miei nonni che coltivavano le arance di Sicilia.
It's a recipe from my grandparents, who cultivated Sicilian oranges.
Caption 12, Adriano L'arancello di MarinaPlay Caption
Degli is hard to pronounce for lots of folks. Here, too, the definite article is included, while English leaves it out.
Pensate che il novanta percento degli italiani beve caffè quotidianamente.
Just think that ninety percent of Italians drink coffee on a daily basis.
Caption 7, Adriano Il caffèPlay Caption
Sarà la forma delle note a stabilire qual è la durata dei suoni,
It's the shape of the notes that determines the duration of the sounds,
Caption 37, A scuola di musica con Alessio - Part 3Play Caption
If you look at the transcript of just about any video, you will be able to pick out several examples of these preposizioni articolate. Look for common phrases and start repeating them, getting them into your repertoire.
For other preposizioni articolate, check out:
Meanwhile, if you have any questions or doubts, write to us at email@example.com
In English, we have the pronoun "one" and the number "one." They both refer to something single but do not mean exactly the same thing. We have a similar phenomenon in Italian, but it goes a step further. This lesson will explore the word uno in various contexts, and since this will take us to the subject of "indefinite articles," we'll take the opportunity to look at those, too!
Uno (one) can be the number "one":
Adesso proveremo noi insieme un passo base di Tango.
Now, together, we'll try out the basic steps of the Tango.
Uno, due, tre.
One, two, three.
Captions 38-39, Adriano - balla il Tango ArgentinoPlay Caption
We can use uno as an adjective when we are talking about "how many?" One.
Ho trovato solo uno stivale. L'altro l'ho perso (I found only one boot. I lost the other one).
Uno is an indefinite article, "a", used only when followed by a Z or by an S + a consonant:*
Uno scontrino, perché?
"Uno scontrino." Why?
Perché la parola inizia per s più consonante.
Because the word starts with "s" plus a consonant.
Captions 55-56, Corso di italiano con Daniela - l'articolo indeterminativoPlay Caption
Caption 27, Adriano - Pasta alla carbonaraPlay Caption
When the masculine word following the article begins with a vowel or single consonant (excluding Z) it's un.
Quello che è successo è un segnale.
What happened is a sign.Play Caption
This is the most common masculine indefinite article and as we mentioned above, it remains the same even when it comes before a vowel (no apostrophe).
Stiamo cercando un aviatore americano.
We're looking for an American pilot.Play Caption
When this article comes before a feminine noun (or the adjective that describes it), it's una.
Hai una bellissima voce.
You have a very beautiful voice.
Caption 9, Adriano - FiabaPlay Caption
If the feminine indefinite article una comes before a word that starts with a vowel, it becomes un' so as not to break the flow.
Magari sarà per un'altra volta.
Perhaps, another time.Play Caption
Here, instead of saying give me una borsa (a bag), Eva just says give me one of them.
Dai, dammene una. -No, no, so' [romanesco: sono] abituata.
Come on, give me one of them. -No, no, I'm used to it.
Caption 6, La Ladra Ep. 4 - Una magica bionda - Part 5Play Caption
Attenzione! In order to speak correctly, you have to know the gender of the noun you are replacing!
But uno can also mean the pronoun "someone."
Allora, innanzitutto, quando uno studia a uni'... a una università,
So, first of all, when someone studies at a uni... at a university,
eh, per esempio in Italia, eh, a Firenze...
uh, for example, in Italy, uh, in Florence...
Captions 17-18, Arianna e Marika - Il Progetto ErasmusPlay Caption
Uno quando ha un talento, lo deve coltivare.
When someone has talent, he has to cultivate it.Play Caption
Generally speaking, the masculine form is used to mean "someone," however, if you want to specify that that someone is a female, then una can serve the same purpose.
For English speakers, getting the article right in Italian can be confusing, especially since in many cases, you have to know the gender of the noun you are using the article with and that can be daunting, too!
When translating, we often have to think twice. Does uno/un/una mean "one" or "a"? Since it's the same word in Italian, it's not always clear!
Doing the Scribe exercises at the end of the videos you watch can be a great way to learn how to use the articles — You ask yourself, "When do I use the apostrophe? And when not?" You'll make plenty of mistakes, but little by little it will sink in.
If you want more lessons about using articles, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Here are some of the video lessons that might be helpful for learning about using indefinite articles (called articoli indeterminativi).