Subject Pronouns

Italian subject pronouns
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Pronomi personali soggetto

Subject pronouns are a type of personal pronoun that indicate who or what is performing the action of a verb.

Per esempio…

Io sono pronto.   I‘m ready.
Noi dobbiamo mangiare.   We must eat.

Characteristics of subject pronouns

  1. Serve as the subject of verbs.
  2. May be singular or plural, masculine or feminine to agree with the noun (subject) they replace.

Italian subject pronouns

Italian is what linguists call a "pro-drop" language, which simply means that the pronoun can be dropped. It’s not necessary for comprehension, the way it is in English, because the subject of the verb is evident from the conjugated verb. "I go" can be translated by io vado or simply vado (from the verb andare – to go).

 In fact, dropped subject pronouns are not just possible, but probable: native speakers are far more likely to drop pronomi soggetto than to use them in both spoken and written Italian. The exceptions are when the pronouns are useful or even necessary in order to clarify, emphasize, make a contrast, or avoid ambiguity. More about this in a future lesson.

The different subject pronouns are determined by number and person.

  • Number is divided into “singular” (one) and “plural” (more than one).
  • Person includes “first person” (the speaker), “second person” (the listener), and “third person” (neither the speaker nor the listener).

Thus, with two numbers and three persons, there are a total of six grammatical persons, each of which has at least one Italian subject pronoun:

  singular   plural
1st person io I   noi we
2nd person   tu you   voi you
3rd person lui
  loro they
Lei you   Loro you

 Note that io is only capitalized at the beginning of a sentence.

Per esempio…

Io vado alla festa.   I’m going to the party.
Sì, io vado alla festa.   Yes, I’m going to the party.

 Nota: As you can see above, there are four different Italian words for "you"

 Related lessons

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Pronomi soggetto - Italian subject pronouns

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