Pronomi diretti, Italian direct object pronouns – Audio Examples

Learn the Italian direct object pronouns (atoni and tonici), listen to the audio examples.

A direct object (complemento oggetto in Italian) is the target, the object of an action expressed by a verb. It answers the questions: Chi? Che cosa? In other words:

  • Mangio (che cosa?) un gelato.
  • Porto (chi?) mia madre al  cinema.

Gelato and mia madre are the objects of the sentences.

I didn’t use much fantasy for the examples. There are more complex sentences below.

If we know the object linked to a verb, we can avoid repetitions and instead of gelato or mia madre we can use Italian direct object pronouns: pronome diretto, a.k.a. pronome complemento diretto:

  • Lo mangio.
  • La porto al cinema.

I eat it, I take her to the movies. The choice of the right pronoun depends on the gender and number of the noun we need to replace.

Gelato is singular masculine, mia madre is singular feminine. Look at the chart.

Two types of Italian direct object pronouns

(Pronomi Soggetto)Pronomi AtoniPronomi tonici
(lui / lei)lo / lalui / lei
(Lei – form)LaLei
(loro)li / leloro

Unlike English, we have two sets of direct object pronouns.

Pronomi tonici: when we use a pronome tonico, the focus of the sentence is the pronoun itself. We want the object to be the main element of the sentence. In this case, the pronoun comes after the verb. The pronomi tonici make sentences less fluid and have an “exclusive” function, as we focus only on one element. Moreover, the pronomi tonici are valid for people, not for objects. I could never turn Mangio il gelato into Mangio lui. If I talk about about a person:

  • Porto lei al cinema. 

I take her to the movies, nobody else. The pronomi tonici exclude other possible objects.

Pronomi atoni: the focus of the sentence is not the pronoun. The pronome atono comes before the verb and it’s strictly linked to the action. It is more common than the equivalent pronome tonico in spoken Italian and the sentence is more fluid. I simply take her to the movie, there’s no particular emphasis on the object.

  • La porto al cinema.

Unless you really need to put the object at the center of the sentence, your choice will be  the pronome atono, more common and useful in spoken Italian. Read and listen to the examples.

Pronomi Atoni

  • Guardi spesso la tivù? – Sì, la guardo tutti i giorni.
  • Stai cercando un lavoro? – Sì, lo sto cercando.
  • Mi chiami stasera? – No, ti chiamo domani.
  • Ci invitate alla festa? – Sì, vi invitiamo.
  • Hai comprato le fragole?  – No, non le ho comprate.
  • Avete visto i miei figli? – Sì, li abbiamo visti in piazza.

* voice of a student!

Italian direct object pronouns are very important. You will soon learn that they can interact with pronomi atoni indiretti, riflessivi, si impersonale and some verbs (infinito, imperativo, gerundio).

Please solve the quiz below.

If you are already familiar with the pronomi diretti, you can try this more complex quiz.

Alla prossima.


Vittorio Matteo Corcos – Guardando il mare – 1900 ca

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Milanese, graduated in Italian literature a long time ago, I began teaching Italian online in Japan back in 2003. I usually spend winter in Tokyo and go back to Italy when the cherry blossoms shed their petals. I do not use social media.

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1 year ago

grazie. è molto utile per me come studente principiante dell’italiano

Don`t copy text!