“Mamma mia!” is a pretty famous Italian exclamation.
“Mia” means “my” and agrees in number and gender with the noun “mamma” (singular, feminine). Learn the Italian possessive adjectives and pronouns. PODCAST & Quiz
In English there’s a direct relation between, for example, MY and I, regardless of the object possessed. My mother and My father are related to the owner.
That’s even more evident if we say His mother or Her mother.
In Italian the possessive links the possessor and the object.
In other words, my mother is…
“Mia mamma”, because mamma is a feminine singular noun.
“Mio padre”, my father, is “mio” because father is a singular masculine noun.
So, the first part of the possessive describes the owner, the final part the gender and number of the object. I doesn’t matter if I, the owner, am a man or a woman. The gender of mio and mia is determined by the object.
There are obviously four possible gender and number combinations (masculine and feminine, singular and plural) and six personal pronouns (io, tu, lui/lei, noi, voi, loro) linked to related possessives.
Let’s keep it simple and use all the variations of the Italian word for friend: AMICO, AMICA, AMICI, AMICHE.
A few rules.
Possessives follow the classic rule of Italian accordance, masculine feminine, singular and plural. All except LORO, which is invariable.
The all come with an article, according to the noun: “il mio amico Luigi” , “la mia amica Laura” (lit. “the” my friend)
You need the article, except when you talk about singular family members: e.g. mio fratello, mia sorella (my borther, my sister) don’t need articles. “Mio fratello si chiama Claudio”. (not
So, I can say “il mio amico Carlo è simpatico”, “la tua amica abita a Roma”, “i tuoi amici non mi piacciono”, “le tue amiche sono carine”.
- In English you have different pronouns and adjectives: my and mine, your and yours and so on.
- In Italian the same set of adjectives can be used as pronouns when you need to replace a noun.
Di chi è questa macchina? È tua. —> pronome possessivo
Whose car is this? It’s yours. “Tua” can work as adjective or pronoun. In this respect Italian is simpler than English.
REMEMBER THE EXCEPTION
When we talk about family members, singular, we don’t put any article. For example:
- Mio fratello si chiama Luigi (instead of
- Mia cugina è bionda (instead of
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