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Remember Smeagol from Lord of the Rings?
How could you forget him, right?
He’s also carrying on saying “MY PRECIOUS! IT’S MINE!” with his endearingly creepy face and raspy Smeagol voice.
They’re pretty simple as there isn’t a basketful of rules for irregularities, so yay for accommodating grammar!
When to use them
— To show ownership
— To show a relationship
Here’s what they look like
Masculine – il mio
Feminine – la mia
Il mio melo – My apple tree
La mia famiglia – My family
Masculine – il tuo
Feminine – la tua
Il tuo libro – Your book
La tua borsa – Your purse
Masculine – il suo
Feminine – la sua
il suo piatto – Her plate
la sua email – His email
Masculine – il nostro
Feminine – la nostra
il nostro cane – Our dog
la nostra felicità – Our happiness
Masculine – il vostro
Feminine – la vostra
il vostro giardino – Your garden
la vostra macchina – Your car
Masculine – il loro
Feminine – la loro
il loro ufficio – Their office
la loro camera – Their room
Cocktail party fact: When you want to say ‘to my house,’ you WOULD NOT say ‘a mia casa’, but ‘a casa mia.’ You could do this with all of the others except for ‘nostro.’
— Masculine – i miei
— Feminine – le mie
i miei amici – My friends
le mie amiche – My friends
— Masculine – i tuoi
— Feminine – le tue
i tuoi libri – Your books
le tue borse – Your purses
— Masculine – i suoi
— Feminine – le sue
i suoi piatti – Her plates
le sue email – His emails
— Masculine – i vostri
— Feminine – le vostre
i vostri giardini – your gardens
le vostre sorelle – your sisters
— Masculine – i nostri
— Feminine – le nostre
i nostri cani – Our dogs
le nostre macchine – Our cars
— Masculine – i loro
— Feminine – le loro
i loro zii – Their uncles
le loro camere – Their rooms
How they work
Let’s say you’re talking about a ring. The word for ring in Italian is ‘annello’, which means that it’s masculine and singular.
Have no idea what I’m talking about when I say masculine and singular? Read this article. [link to article on gender/number agreement]
You would find the match for masculine + singular in the list, which is ‘il mio’ and you would add that before ‘annello’, making it ‘il mio annello.’
You absolutely need the article (il/la/lo/i/le/gli) when you use a possessive.
And to be clear, you NEVER use yourself to make the whatever you own or whoever you have a relationship with agree in number and gender, but you use the noun or the person you have a relationship to do so.
HOWEVER When Smeagol is talking to himself in the clip above, he says “È nostro! NOSTRO!” Meaning “(the ring) It’s ours! OURS!”
He doesn’t need to use an article hear because he says: “It’s ours!” as opposed to “The ring is ours!”
The only time you wouldn’t use the article before the possessive and the noun is when you are talking about a singular family member.
Per esempio, to say ‘my sister,’ you would say ‘mia sorella.’
— My brother – Mio fratello
— Your uncle – Tuo zio
— Her dad – Suo padre
— Our aunt – Nostra zia
— Your (female) cousin – Vostra cugina
Attenta! Their mom – La loro madre
Loro ALWAYS takes an article.
Cocktail party fact: BUT when you use those little word endings to show affection, like -ino/ina, you need to use the article. Per esempio – La mia sorellina – My dear little sister.
One final point
If a preposition (on, at, of – su, a, da, etc.) comes before the article, then they need to marry each other.
— In la mia storia –> nella mia storia – In my story
— di la tua fantasia –> della tua fantasia – From your fantasy
— in il suo sogno – nel suo sogno – In her dream
Need to brush up on your preposizioni articolate? Read this article here.
To learn more about pronouns in Italian, consider enrolling in the 10-Day Italian Pronouns Challenge.
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