There’s only one Italian masculine definite article left – which we haven’t learned yet – which is “lo”.
Many students of the Italian language find the rules for applying “lo” a bit difficult.
Hopefully this lesson will help you to master “lo”.
In this lesson we’ll see:
- “Lo” is a masculine definite article (equivalent to “the” in English, along with “il” and “la”) which means that it can only be used before masculine-gendered Italian nouns.
- “Lo” is a “special” article that can only be used before nouns with specific initial letters. “Lo” can only be used with words that begin with “gn”, “pn”, “ps”, x”, “y” or “z”, and furthermore it’s used with every single noun that begins with an s and that is followed by a consonant (for example every Italian noun beginning with “sc” will need “lo” for a definite article).
- If an Italian noun begins with any of the above letters and finishes with the characteristic masculine ending “o”, then probably our noun will be masculine, and you’ll have to use “lo” with it. So, for example we say “la yogurteria” (an ice cream/yogurt shop), not “lo yogurteria”, because “yogurteria” is feminine and not masculine.
- Note, words ending in “e” are also usually masculine, so you’ll also need “lo” with these if they start with any of the above letters.
“Gnome” in Italian
Lo gnomo in Italian means the gnome.
The “gn” here is a bit tricky for English speakers, especially at the start of a word. It’s the same sound as the “gn” in “lasagne”.
“Tire” in Italian
Lo pneumatico in Italian means the tire.
Note that the “p” in “pneumatico” is pronounced, unlike with the related word “pneumatic” in English, where it’s silent.
The Italian for “Psychologist”
Lo psicologo means the psychologist.
“Xylophone” in Italian
Lo xilofono is Italian for xylophone.
The Italian for “Yogurt”
Lo yogurt is the Italian for yoghurt.
The Italian for “Sugar”
Lo zucchero in Italian means the sugar.
The “h” is there after the “c” because otherwise, “ce” would be pronounced like “ch” in English.
“Student” in Italian
Lo studente in Italian means the student.
Say out each of the following out loud.
- lo gnocco
- lo pneumatico
- lo psicologo
- lo xilofono
- lo yogurt
- lo zucchero
- lo studente