Indefinite Article

Italian definite articles
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Articolo indefinito

The aptly named indefinite article indicates an unspecific or unidentified noun.

Per esempio…

Vedo una gatta e un cane.   I see a cat and a dog.
Ha un’idea.   He has an idea.

Characteristics of indefinite articles

  1. Used with countable nouns (as opposed to uncountable nouns like money and water)
  2. Placed directly in front of a noun or an adjective + noun
  3. Agree with the noun in gender and number

Italian indefinite articles

    Masculine   Feminine
a, an, one   un, uno   una, un’
some   dei, degli   delle

+ There are two singular articles for each gender, each of which can mean a, an, or one:


Un is the normal masculine singular indefinite article.

It changes to uno in front of a noun beginning with a complex sound.


Una is the normal feminine singular indefinite article.

It contracts to un’ in front of a vowel.

 Note that all of the above rules also apply to the number "one."

+ There are three plural indefinite articles, all equivalent to "some":

1. Masculine plural of un: dei
2. Masculine plural of uno: degli
3. Feminine plural: delle

 Many Italian grammars say that there is no plural indefinite article, or that you just use the partitive when you need a plural. While the plural forms of the indefinite and partitive articles are indeed identical, there is a difference between them – see Partitive articles.

 The Italian indefinite article is not always used when talking about a person’s profession with essere (to be).

Per esempio…

Nico è autore.
Nico è un autore.
  He’s an author.
Sono insegnante.
Sono un insegnante.
  I’m a teacher.

It’s a bit more common in northern Italy and in writing, but otherwise, it’s correct with and without.

However, it is required when modified by an adjective or other descriptor:

Per esempio…

Nico è un autore famoso.   He’s a famous author.
Sono un insegnante di scuola elementare.   I’m a grade school teacher.

 Note that plural indefinite articles are identical to di + corresponding definite articles (articulated prepositions).

 Related lessons

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Indefinite articles in Italian

Virtual Italian Teacher at Lawless Languages | Website | + posts

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