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In Italian, there are 4 categories of personal pronouns.
In this chapter we are going to discuss all of the 4 categories.
We use personal pronouns (pronomi personali) to replace persons, animals, things or ideas.
|Subject pronouns||Stressed personal pronouns||Unstressed personal pronouns
Direct object pronouns
|Unstressed personal pronouns
Indirect object pronouns
|Io (I)||Me (Me)||Mi||Mi|
|Tu - Lei (You)||Te (You)||Ti||Ti|
|Egli, Esso → Lui (He)||Lui (Him)||Lo, Gli||Gli, Ne|
|Ella, Essa → Lei (She)||Lei (Her)||La, Le||Le, Ne|
|Noi (We)||Noi (Us)||Ci||Ci|
|Voi (You)||Voi (You)||Vi||Vi|
|Essi → Loro (They, masculine)||Loro (Them)||Li||Gli, Loro, Ne|
|Esse → Loro (They, feminine)||Loro (Them)||Le||Gli, Loro, Ne|
|Tu (Lei)||You (You)|
|Egli, Esso → Lui||He|
|Ella, Essa → Lei||She|
|Essi → Loro||They (masculine)|
|Esse → Loro||They (feminine)|
The third person pronouns (Egli, Esso, Ella, Essa, Essi, Esse) could still appear in some texts but they have been replaced in speech and writing by more colloquial forms, Lui, Lei, Loro.
In Italian we can omit the subject pronoun to highlight the action instead of the subject
|(Io) Voglio festeggiare il mio compleanno in spiaggia.||I want to have a birthday party on the beach.|
|(Tu) Vuoi che me ne vada?||Do you want me to leave?|
|(Noi) Cuciniamo degli spaghetti.||We are cooking some spaghetti.|
The form Lei is a form of politeness.
It's used in a formal context and when addressing somebody you don't know well, older or in a higher position than you.
Remember to write it with a capital letter, not to confuse it with third singular person lei (she).
To distinguish it from Tu, pay attention to the main verb.
|Ehi, tu, vieni qui!||Hey you, come here!|
|Io e lei abbiamo una relazione a distanza da un anno.||She and I have been in a long-distance relationship for a year.|
|Signor Rossi, io credo che Lei dovrebbe accettare questa proposta.||Mr. Rossi, I think you should accept this proposal.|
To understand the difference between these two kinds of pronouns, it's necessary to analize the sentence and context.
|Tu mangi||You eat. (You → subject of the sentence, does the action)|
|Io ti vedo.||I see you. (You → complement: direct object, answers question Who? What?)|
|Io parlo con te.||I talk to you. (You → complement: indirect object, answers question Whom? To what?)|
These pronouns are used to replace an indirect object (whom? to what? for what?).
They are called stressed because the accent of the sentence falls on them.
Stressed pronouns don't need to be merged with the main verb, unlike unstressed pronouns.
They usually come after the verb and are introduced by a preposition.
Let's analize some examples.
|Volevo andare con lui.||I wanted to go with him.|
|Questa torta è stata fatta da me.||This cake was baked by me.|
|Basta chiacchierare con loro!||Stop chatting with them!|
These pronouns are called unstressed because the accent of the sentence never falls on them.
Direct object pronouns replace the direct object (who? what?).
These pronouns can either precede the verb or be merged with it. The differences in usage depends on the context.
|Direct object pronouns|
|Lo (masculine) La (feminine) L' (+vowel) Ne|
|Li (masculine) Le (feminine)|
Take a look at the following sentences
|È una bella notizia, l'ho sentita ieri.||It is a good news, I heard about it yesterday.|
|Non trovo le chiavi. Le hai viste?||I can't find my keys. Have you seen them?|
|Ti ho visto l'altra sera in giro.||I saw you around the other night.|
|Mi senti?||Do you hear me?|
|Ci incontreremo in piazza.||We will meet in the square|
A direct object pronoun is merged with the verb if its mood is infinitive, gerund or participle.
Remember! Drop the final vowel of the verb before adding the pronoun.
Non sono riuscito a convincerle.
convincere (to convince) → convincer- →
convincerle (to convince them)
|I did not succeed in convincing them.|
C'è del pesce in frigo. Mangialo!
|There's some fish in the fridge. Eat it!|
Vieni a trovarci!
trovare (to come and see) → trovar- →
trovarci (come and visit us)
|Come visit us!|
Indirect object pronouns replace indirect objects (whom? to what? for what?).
They could be considered the equivalent of "to me", "to you", "to him", or any question that could be answered with a English preposition.
These pronouns always require a verb and they can either precede or be placed after it.
|Indirect object pronouns|
|Gli, Le, Ne|
|Gli (masculine), Loro (feminine), Ne|
Take a look at the following sentences.
|Ho bisogno di affidarti il mio gatto per tre giorni.||I need you to take care of my cat for three days.|
|Tra poco vi porterò del pane.||I will soon bring you some bread.|
|Mi ha convinto, così le ho dato una possibilità.||She convinced me, so I gave her a chance.|
|Gli parlerò io.||I will talk to him.|
|Ti spedirò una lettera.||I will send you a letter.|
When the pronouns come after a verb, they are usually merged with the verb form itself if the verb is an infinite, gerund or participle.
|Portateci del vino.||Bring us some wine.|
|Ci interessa la vostra offerta.||We are interested in your offer.|
|Regalami un profumo nuovo!||Get me a new perfume as a present!|
|Digli che ho cambiato idea.||Tell him I changed my mind.|
|Non può mandarti quella email.||He can't send you that email.|
Direct and indirect object pronouns may be used together in the same sentence or even in the same word.
If the direct object is placed towards the end of a sentence, it's usually referred back to with a pronoun in the sentence that follows.
Guarda quelle arance. Me le porti? (Will you bring me those oranges?)
Me = to me
Le = the oranges, direct object
The indirect object pronoun usually precedes the direct object pronoun and changes its form as follows:
|Indirect object pronoun||New form|
Here are all the possible combinations:
|Person||Masculine Singular||Masculine Plural||Feminine Singular||Feminine Plural|
|It + me||Me lo||Me la||Me li||Me le|
|It + you||Te lo||Te la||Te li||Te le|
|It + him/her/it||Glielo||Gliela||Glieli||Gliele|
|It + us||Ce lo||Ce la||Ce li||Ce le|
|It + you||Ve lo||Ve la||Ve li||Ve le|
|It + them||Glielo||Gliela||Glieli||Gliele|
Let's analize some examples.
|Non ve lo dico.||I won't tell you this.|
|Me li dai 10 euro?||Don't you give me 10 euros?|
|Te lo spiegherà Marco.||Marco will explain this to you.|
|Glielo puoi inviare?||Can you send this to him?|
|Ce li hanno portati dall'Olanda.||They brought us these from the Netherlands.|
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