Getting started with Italian 1
Getting started with Italian 1

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6 Indefinite articles

All the nouns you’ve learnt so far are preceded by un, un’ and una. These are called indefinite articles and you will now learn how they are used.

Un caffè e un cornetto

The Italian equivalent of the English ‘a’ or ‘an’ (the indefinite article) is either un, uno, una or un’. The form depends on whether the noun it relates to is masculine or feminine and whether the noun starts with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) or a consonant.

Masculine nouns

  • Use un with most masculine nouns.

    • un bicchiere a glass
    • un aperitivo an aperitif
  • Use uno also before a masculine noun beginning with s + consonant (for example sc-, sp-).

    • uno scontrino a receipt
    • uno spuntino a snack
  • Use uno before a masculine noun beginning with gn, pn, ps, x, z, or with i or y followed by another vowel.

    • uno zio an uncle
    • uno yogurt a yogurt

Feminine nouns

  • Use una with a feminine noun beginning with a consonant.

    • una birra a beer
    • una pizza a pizza
  • Use un’ before a feminine noun beginning with a vowel.

    • un’aranciata an orangeade
    • un’acqua minerale a mineral water

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