Italian Pronouns: A Beginner's Guide

Pronouns are among the most used of any word in any language, and they have many uses. Today I'd like to take a look at some of the ways they are used in Italian.

Subject pronouns

By this point, you've probably already figured out that subject pronouns are frequently omitted. We learn the subject pronouns (io, tu, lui, lei, noi, voi, loro) as we learn conjugations, but since the conjugations themselves tend to indicate the subject, it becomes very formal and stiff sounding when you use subject pronouns with them.

So for example, instead of asking dove tu vai? and answering io vado al negozio di ferramente, it sounds more natural to ask dove vai? and answer vado al negozio di ferramente.

That's all I'm going to say about subject pronouns.

Relative pronouns

In addition to its role as an interrogatory pronoun, the word che (what) also functions as a relative pronoun. When used as a relative pronoun, it functions in the same way as the English words who, whom, that, and which.

Spero che la nostra squadra vinca.Questa è la macchina che voglio.

Another interrogatory pronoun which also serves a role as a relative pronoun is chi (who), which can be used to distrubite an abstract action, similar to the way we do in English with "he who {a} shall {b}". When used in this way, it is always paired with the third-person singular form of the verb.

Chi cerca, trova.Chi chede, riceve.

The relative pronoun cui is only used as an object of a preposition, and is used in the manner of "to whom", or "to which".

La persona cui scrivo è il mio amico.

However quale is often used (with an article) instead of cui, to avoid ambiguity.

La moglie del mio amio, il quale vive a Roma, mi scriva.La moglie del mio amico, la quale vive a Roma, mi scriva.

Indefinite pronouns

An indefinite pronoun is a pronoun that refers to none, one, or more unspecified nouns, or to specified nouns with unspecified or indefinite qualities.

The Italian word alcuno functions like the English word any.

Non ha alcun amico.C'è alcuno bichiere qui per la mia acqua?

In its plural form alcuni, it takes on a meaning more like some.

Invitò alcuni suoi amici.Vorrei alcuni di questi peperoni.

The word qualcuno works like someone or somebody.

C'è qualcuno?Poco fa qualcuno ha bussato alla porta.

In a similar fashion, the word qualcosa means something.

Voglio qualcosa di diverso.Cerchiamo qualcosa da mangiare.Nessuno means nobody or no one.
A nessuno è permesso di parcheggiare in quella strada.Non ho visto dei tuoi amici.

The word chiunque indicates a vagueness equivalent to the English word anyone.

Chiunque può farlo.

In its singular form, tutto means everything.

Tutto è possibile.Raccontami tutto.

However, in a plural form, tutti tends to mean everybody, or everyone.

Lo sanno tutt.Thank you, everyone!*UPDATED*

Apparently I made several grammatical errors when writing this. I suppose that's my penalty for waiting so being late and rushing it out, rather than taking my time writing it earlier, as I usually do. The errors pointed out to me have been corrected in the text. Thank you to my readers for being so helpful. It's one thing for me to make such mistakes on my own, but it's another thing to pass them on in my attempt to help others learn.

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