How to Master Italian Direct Pronouns

Learning Direct Pronoun is a must-know topic for all Italian learners!

Find top Tips to master Italian Direct Pronouns: find all the answers to the most common questions about this topic:

  • What are the Italian pronouns?
  • The difference between Subject Pronoun and Object Pronoun
  • What are the direct object pronouns in Italian?
  • How are Italian pronouns used?
  • How to replace THE DIRECT OBJECT WITH A PRONOUN
  • … and much more including Practice!


What is a pronoun? 

A pronoun (pro + noun) is a word that takes the place of a noun in certain specific circumstances to avoid repetition, shorten sentences and simplify the discourse.

Italian has many types of pronouns, each with a special function.

Types of pronouns in Italian are:

  • personal,
  • relative,
  • interrogative,
  • exclamative,
  • possessive,
  • demonstrative
  • indefinite.
italian pronouns
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WHAT IS An Italian DIRECT PRONOUN?


Many verbs are followed by a direct object noun. A direct object is a noun that answers the questions “whom? or what?” so the direct recipient of the action of a verb.

Mario beve il caffè

Beve –> che cosa? (What?) –> Il caffè

The Direct Object pronoun replaces the direct object noun. This avoids useless repetition of the nouns and greatly simplifies communication.

Practice and repetition will lead to a smooth use and eventually to the automatic use of these pronouns.


What is the difference between Subject Pronoun and Object Pronoun?

While subject pronouns replace the subject of the sentence, direct object pronouns (pronomi diretti) are used to substitute direct objects and they answer to the question: “chi?” (whom?) or “che cosa?” (what?)

mario legge un libro
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MORE EXAMPLES

Luca mangia una pizza (Luca eats a pizza)

Cosa mangia Luca? –> LA PIZZA –> questo è l’oggetto diretto (What does Luca eat? –> LA PIZZA –> that’s the direct object)

Ho visto Maria (I saw Maria)

Chi hai visto? –> MARIA —> questo è l’oggetto diretto. (Who did I see? –> MARIA –> that’s the direct object.)

HOW TO REPLACE THE DIRECT OBJECT WITH A PRONOUN


Cosa fa Marco? Legge un libro? Sì, legge un libro.

Cosa fa Marco? Legge un libro? Sì, lo legge.

mario lo legge
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As you can see in this example usually the object pronoun goes before the verb.

HOW TO MASTER THE THIRD PERSON Direct PRONOUNS

A direct object pronoun replaces a noun used as a direct object; it must, therefore, agree in gender and number with the noun it refers to. 

Replacing the object with a pronoun can be challenging ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU WANT TO REPLACE A THIRD PERSON SUBJECT.

EXAMPLES

Vedo IL ragazzO –> LO vedo

I see the boy –> I see him

Vedo LA ragazzA –> LA vedo

I see the girl –> I see her

Replace:

Masculine

  • IL article with LO pronoun
  • I article with LI pronoun
  • GLI article with LI pronoun

Feminine

  • LA article with LA pronoun
  • LE article with LE pronoun
  • LO article with LO pronoun

What happens if there’s a proper name like Luigi (a man) or Luisa (a woman) in a sentence?

  • Replace a masculine proper name with LO pronoun
  • Replace a feminine proper name with LA pronoun

What happens if the article is L’ (with the apostrophe)

In this particular case, you need to know if the name is masculine or feminine (searching for the word in a dictionary).


how to use direct pronouns

Where I’m going to put this direct pronoun in a sentence?

Sometimes a problem is to know how the word order changes when object pronouns are introduced.

In the Italian language, the object pronoun goes before the verb.

What happens if the phrase has 2 verbs?

You put the pronoun before the first verb

noi lo andiamo a vedere

In this case, you can also attach the pronoun to the last verb (the infinitive verb)

andiamo a vederlo

EXAMPLES

Quando vedo Elena la invito a cena. —>[la replaces and agrees with “Elena” (fs)] (When I see Elena I’ll invite her to dinner.)

Quando vedo Lorenzo lo invito a cena. —-> [lo replaces and agrees with “Lorenzo” (ms)] (When I see Lorenzo I’ll invite him to dinner.)

Scrivo le cartoline e poi le imbuco. —>[le replaces and agrees with l”e cartoline” (fp)] (I write the postcards and then post them.)

Appena compro i biscotti li mangio.  —>[li replaces and agrees with “i biscotti” (mp)] (As soon as I buy biscuits I eat them.)

Prendo il giornale e lo leggo subito. —>[lo replaces and agrees with il giornale (ms)] (I get the paper and read it immediately.)


Other Direct Object Pronouns

Subject pronouns are used to emphasize the person or thing responsible for the action.

Think of direct object pronouns as corresponding to the English pronouns me, her, us, and so on…

In this table the correspondent direct object for each subject (Also included the third person already seen before)

SUBJECT DIRECT OBJECT
iomi
tuti
lui/leilo/la
noici
voivi
loroli/le

How to use the other direct object pronouns

Use this pronoun in the same way of third the person’s pronouns. They are neutral so don’t have a gender or a number.

mario chiama me
mario mi chiama

EXAMPLES

Giacomo mi invita spesso a cena. (Giacomo often invites me to dinner.)

Se vuoi, ti aiuto. (If you want, I’ll help you.)

Vi invito alla festa. (I’m inviting you to the party.)

Mario, quando mi chiami? Ti chiamo stasera (Mario, when do you call me? I’ll call you tonight)


Placement of Direct Pronouns in negative Clause

tu conosci Anna

tu la conosci

tu non la conosci

EXAMPLES

Ti chiamo domani, NON ti chiamo stasera. (I’ll call you tomorrow, I’m NOT calling you tonight)

Placement of Direct Pronouns with the Infinitive Verb

With the infinitive, the direct object pronouns are attached to the verb, dropping the last vowel.

vedere –> vederti
chiamare –> Chiamarmi. (To call me)


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