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Titles are important in Italian, and they are used somewhat differently than their English counterparts.
- Italian titles must sometimes be preceded by the definite article.
- There are masculine and feminine versions of most titles.
When the person’s profession or level of education is known, many other titles come into play.
|doctor, university graduate**
|grade-school teacher, music teacher
|high school teacher, professor
** Dottore and dottoressa are not reserved for medical doctors and PhDs; they refer to anyone with a Master’s or Bachelor’s degree.
Titles that end in -e, like signore and dottore, are spelled this way only when used on their own, as in Buongiorno signore. When followed by a name, they lose the final -e: Signor Bartoli.
Italian titles and definite articles
When speaking about a titled person in Italian, the uncapitalized title is preceded by the definite article.
|Il signor Bartoli non è qui.
|Mr. Bartoli is not here.
|Dove vive la professoressa Marabella?
|Where does Professor Marabella live?
However, when you are speaking to the person, the title is capitalized and there is no definite article.
|Buongiorno, Signor Bartoli, come sta?
|Hello, Mr. Bartoli, how are you?
|Aspetti un momento, Professoressa Marabella
|Please wait a moment, Professor Marabella.
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