1. The key difference with English
In English possessives are never used with articles. Instead, in Italian, they are always accompanied with articles (except for some cases I will touch upon below).
The possessive adjectives agree in terms of gender and number with the nouns they are proceeding
- la mia borsa
- il mio libro
- la sua ragazza
- il suo lavoro
2. When are the articles omitted?
The articles are omitted when referring to family members when they are singular
- Mia madre
- Mio padre
- Mia sorella
- Mio fratello
- Mio zio
Nevertheless, the article is always used:
– when referring to more than one relative:
- le mie sorelle
- i miei fratelli
- i miei zii
– when an adjective accompanies the singular relative
- la mia amata madre
- il mio caro padre
- il mio carissimo zio
– and with the possessive loro
- la loro madre
- il loro padre
- le loro sorelle
3. The possessive adjective is always placed before the nouns
However, in some cases when it follows the noun, it is used to emphasize or stress the emotional meaning of the sentence.
- Mamma mia!
- Questa è casa mia!
4. In certain idiomatic expressions, possessives are used as nouns
- I miei (My parentes)
- I tuoi (Your parents)
- Alla nostra! (Cheers)
5. Finally, when the possessive is used as a pronoun (not attached to a noun, but replacing a noun) the articles are often omitted
- Di chi è questa borsa? (E’ mia!)
- Di chi è questa casa? (E’ sua!)
Serena is a proud polyglot, teacher and language expert. After learning 8+ foreign languages and working long hours a job she was not born for, she decided she urged a significant life change. She is now combining what she loves doing with what she is good at, helping people to learn Italian online. She has been sharing her love for Italy and the Bella Lingua across the world for the last four years. Her goal is helping enthusiastic humans to transform Italian Language Learning into a habit in their lives.