A pronoun is a word that substitutes for a noun or a noun phrase in a sentence. There are different kinds of pronouns.

Subject pronouns

Subject pronouns in Italian can be used as the subject. The subject pronouns most often used in modern Italian are:

Io - INoi - We
Tu* - YouVoi - You
Lui, lei, Lei* - He, she, youLoro - They

*Tu is an informal version of “you” in singular. To refer to someone in a formal context we use Lei. It conjugates exactly like the third person singular.

! Important note !

As the form of the verb in Italian indicates who the speaker is, personal pronouns are mostly dropped in the language. Consequently, people say “Cantiamo una canzone.” rather than “Noi cantiamo una canzone.”. The pronouns are sometimes kept for emphasis:

  • - Vai alla festa stasera? (Are you going to the party tonight?)
  • - Io non ci vado. (I’m not going there.)

Possessive pronouns

Possessive pronouns in Italian are a way of saying that something is yours, his, her etc. A slight difficulty for English speakers is that the possessive pronoun always is in agreement with the object/person that’s “possessed” and not with the “possessor”, like in the example:

La sua macchina era cara. -> His/her car was expensive.

Here is the list of possessive pronouns:

Mine Il mio libro - My book La mia borsa - My bag I miei amici - My friends Le mie studentesse - My (female) students
Your Il tuo libro - Your book La tua borsa - Your bag I tuoi amici - Your friends Le tue studentesse - Your (female) students
Her/His Il suo libro - Her/His book La sua borsa - Her/his bag I suoi amici - Her/His friends Le sue studentesse - Her/his (female) students
Our Il nostro libro - Our book La nostra borsa - Our bag I nostri amici - Our friends Le nostre studentesse - Our (female) students
Your Il vostro libro - Your book La vostra borsa - Your bag I vostri amici - Your friends Le vostre studentesse - Your (female) students
Their Il loro libro - Their book La loro borsa - Their bag I loro amici - Their friends Le loro studentesse - Their (female) students

There’s a special exception with the use of personal pronouns for family members:

  • - They behave in the same way as other words when the noun related to family is used in plural e.g. Le mie zie sono felici. (My aunts are happy.)
  • - They also remain normal when a diminutive form of the word is used e.g. La mia sorellina non si sente bene. (My sister isn’t feeling well.)
  • - They drop the pronoun in singular e.g. Mio padre cucina bene. (My father cooks well.)

Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns (i pronomi dimostrativi) are used for indicating. “This” and “these” in Italian can be different words, depending on number and gender as shown in the below table:

Masculine Questo - This Questi - These
Feminine Questa - This Queste - These

This is an example of the use of these expressions in practice:

Questo è il mio cucciolo. - This is my puppy.
Questa è Maria. - This is Maria.
Queste sono mie sorelle. - These are my sisters.
Questi sono gli ultimi panini. - These are the last sandwiches.

The form of “that” and “those” also can be different:

Masculine Quello - That Quelli - Those
Feminine Quella - That Quelle - Those

Here are some examples showing how to use them in sentences:

Preferisco quello. - I prefer that (one).
Vuol dire quella? - You mean that (one)?
Non ho abbastanza soldi per comprare quelli. - I don’t have enough money to buy those.
Le scarpe? Quelle? - Shoes? Those?