Italian Partitive Articles (How to say “some” in Italian)

What is a partitive article?

Partitive articles are an essential part of the Italian language and the easiest way to translate “some” in English.

Unlike in English, they change their shape depending on the noun they precede because they are a combination of “di” plus the definite article that the noun would use.

They are used to indicate a part or some amount of an unspecified quantity of something.

Forms of Partitive Articles

We distinguish between singular and plural partitive articles.

Singular Partitive Articles (del, della, dello, dell’)

  • del pane – some bread
  • della farina – some flour
  • dello zucchero – some sugar
  • dell’olio d’oliva – some olive oil

Un po’ di

All of the above partitive articles can be replaced by “un po’ di”:

  • un po’ di pane – some bread 
  • un po’ di farina – some flour
  • un po’ di zucchero – some sugar
  • un po’ di olio d’oliva – some olive oil

Plural Partitive Articles (dei, degli, delle)

  • dei pomodori – some tomatoes
  • degli spinaci – some spinach*
  • delle fragole – some strawberries

*Note: “spinaci” is a plural noun in Italian, unlike in English.

Alcuni/alcune

The plural partitive articles can be replaced by “alcuni” (for masculine plural nouns) or “alcune” for feminine plural nouns. Although these are not as common or natural as the first one:

  • alcuni pomodori – some tomatoes
  • alcune fragole – some strawberries
  • alcune spinaci – some spinach

Choosing the right partitive article

How do you choose the right partitive articles to use? 

It’s simple. Look at this table. Understanding which definite articles the following noun uses is key.

DI is combined with the definite articles to form the partitive articles shown in the table. 

+illal’loiglile
DIdeldelladell’dellodeideglidelle
Italian partitive articles

Definite ArticlesPartitive Articles
il lattedel latte
la pizzadella pizza
l‘acetodell’aceto
lo zuccherodello zucchero
i ragazzidei ragazzi
gli amicidegli amici
le amichedelle amiche 
Italian partitive articles (examples)

Serena Capilli

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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Ciao, I’m Serena! I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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