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How Do You Use Italian Pronouns? The Ultimate Guide // FREE PDF & QUIZ 📚

Learn how to use and understand ALL Italian Pronouns with this detailed step-by-step guide

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Italian Pronouns - The Ultimate Guide
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Knowing how to use and understand Italian pronouns is essential for Italian fluency. But they can be tricky. Master your Italian pronouns with this detailed guide full of helpful tips.

This guide will walk you through the key types of Italian pronouns and show you how they can transform your texts and conversations. And to bring it all home, I’ve included a fun and interactive quiz at the end of this guide so you can practice your new-found Italian grammar skills.

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When you start learning Italian, it’s pretty common to keep repeating the same basic phrases and words, but if you’re gunning for fluency, it’s time to shake things up a bit. The key? Familiarize yourself with Italian pronouns to inject rhythm into your sentences!

Cominciamo! (Let’s get started!)

What Are Pronouns?


Pronouns are tiny little words that step in to replace parts of a sentence. They not only save us from sounding like a broken record but also jazz up our Italian, making it more lively and fluent. The word “pronoun” itself makes their role very clear. Coming from the Latin “pronomem,” where “pro” means “for” and “nomen” is “name,” they essentially stand in “for a name.” 

Consider this example:

  • Marco ha chiamato Anna; vuole invitare Anna al cinema. (Marco has called Anna; he wants to invite Anna to the movies.)
  • Marco ha chiamato Anna, vuole invitarla al cinema. (Marco has called Anna, he wants to invite her to the movies.)

In the second sentence, la is an Italian pronoun used to replace Anna, so the sentence flows smoother and isn’t repetitive.

Italian pronouns are super useful words like io, tu, lo, la, and so on (equivalent to I, you, him, her in English) that take the place of other words in a sentence. They help avoid repeating the same thing over and over, making things clearer and easier to follow.

Key Italian Pronouns
Personal Pronouns Possessive Pronouns Relative Pronouns
They indicate who or what is involved within a sentence, be it either the subject or the object (io, te, lo, etc., equivalent to I, you, him, etc. in English) They express possession and belonging, indicating to whom the referred elements belong (mio, tuo, suo, etc., equivalent to mine, yours, his, etc. in English) They connect two sentences by referring back to a noun mentioned in the first sentence (che, cui, il quale, etc…, equivalent to which, that, etc. in English)

Understanding Italian Pronouns

Pronouns in Italian, much like in English, serve as substitutes for nouns – whether they are people, animals, objects, or abstract ideas. But Italian boasts a more complex system of pronouns compared to English, which can cause quite a few headaches. 

Understanding the different types of Italian pronouns and how they fit into sentences is a key part of mastering this aspect of the language. So, let’s break them down into a few main types, each playing a distinct role in Italian grammar. We’ll explore each category in this guide, so you can get a handle on them:

Italian Personal Pronouns

Personal pronouns are used to indicate the person or thing involved in the action of the verb. This can be either the subject (i.e., who is performing the action) or the object (i.e., who is receiving the action) in the sentence.

Here are some some examples:

  • Noi andremo al cinema, ma loro preferiscono restare a casa. (We will go to the cinema, but they prefer to stay at home.)

Here, noi and loro are plural personal pronouns used as subjects in the sentences.

  • Maria è andata da Eleonora, la aiuterà con i compiti di matematica. (Maria went to Eleonora’s, she will help her with her math homework.)

Here, the personal pronoun la replaces Maria, indicating that Maria is the one who will be helped.

There are four types of personal pronouns in Italian:

Italian Personal Pronouns
Subject            Pronouns Direct Object Pronouns Indirect Object Pronouns Reflexive Pronouns
They replace the subject in a sentence (e.g.,  io, tu, lei, corresponding to I, you, she, etc. in English) They replace the direct recipient of the action in a sentence (e.g., me, te, lo, etc. corresponding to me, you, him, etc. in English) They replace the indirect recipient of the action in a sentence (e.g., me, te, la, etc. corresponding to me, you, her, etc. in English) They indicate that the person or object performing the action of the verb is also the recipient of that action (e.g., mi, ti, si, etc. corresponding to myself, yourself, herself, etc. in English)

Italian Subject Pronouns Chart 

Italian Pronouns - Italian Subject Pronouns ChartSubject pronouns in Italian are essential for understanding who or what is performing an action. They replace the subject in a sentence, which can be a person, animal, or object. These pronouns are typically among the first elements you learn in Italian, as they are key to correctly conjugating verbs.

Italian Subject Pronouns
  Italian English
1 person singular (masc./fem.) io i
2 person singular (masc./fem.) tu you
3 person singular (masc.) lui, egli*, esso he, it
3 person singular (fem.) lei, ella*, essa she, it
1 person plural (masc./fem.) noi we
2 person plural (masc./fem.) voi you
3 person plural (masc.) loro, essi they
3 person plural (fem.) loro, esse they

* In everyday Italian, the subject pronouns egli and ella have become archaic and are only used in highly formal or bureaucratic contexts.

Here are some examples:

  • Ho conosciuto Anna sull’aereo; lei è di Roma e tornava a casa per il Natale. (I met Anna on the plane; she’s from Rome and was heading home for Christmas.)

Here, lei is the subject pronoun referring back to Anna.

  • Io vado a comprare qualcosa da mangiare, mentre tu fai la fila per i biglietti. (I’m going to buy something to eat, while you wait in line for the tickets.)

Here, io is the subject pronoun for the first person singular, indicating the action taken by the speaker, while tu is the subject pronoun for the second person singular, referring to the person the speaker is talking to.

  • Chiama Andrea e Giulio, loro sapranno consigliarti un buon hotel in città. (Call Andrea and Giulio, they will be able to recommend a good hotel in the city.)

Here, loro is the subject pronoun referring back to Andrea e Giulio.

Click here to learn more about subject pronouns in Italian 

Italian Direct Object Pronouns Chart

Italian Pronouns - Italian Direct Object Pronouns ChartDirect object pronouns are used to replace the noun that directly receives the action of a verb. To identify them, simply ask yourself: does the pronoun answer ‘who?’ or ‘what?’ in relation to the verb’s action? 

For example, in the sentence Vedo la macchina (I see the car), la macchina (the car) is the direct object. It can be replaced with the pronoun la, as in la vedo. This la is the direct object pronoun, answering the question ‘what do I see?’

Italian Direct Object Pronouns
  Italian English 
1° person singular (masc. / fem.) mi, me me
2° person singular (masc. / fem.) ti, te you
3° person singular (masc.) lo, lui, la (formal),
lei (formal)
him, it, you (formal)
3° person singular (fem.) la, la (formal), lei (formal) her, it, you (formal)
1° person plural (masc. / fem.) ci, noi us
2° person plural (masc. / fem.) vi, voi you
3° person plural (masc.) li, loro them
3° person plural (fem.) le, loro them

Usually, we put direct object pronouns right before the verb. However, there are exceptions, such as with imperative verbs, where you stick them onto the end of the verb to form a single word.

Here are some examples: 

  • È da un’ora che aspetto Giovanni. —>  È da un’ora che lo aspetto. (I’ve been waiting for Giovanni for an hour. —> I’ve been waiting for him for an hour.)

lo replaces Giovanni

  • Voglio vedere solo Stefania. —> Voglio vedere solo lei.(I want to see only Stefania. —> I want to see only her.)

Lei replaces Stefania

  • Chiama subito Anna e Paola! —> Chiamale subito! (Call Anna and Paola right away! —> Call them right away!)

Le replaces Anna e Paola

Click here to learn more about direct object pronouns in Italian 

Italian Indirect Object Pronouns Chart

Italian Pronouns - Italian Indirect Object Pronouns ChartIndirect object pronouns are used to indicate the person or thing that is the recipient of an action. They answer the question “to whom” or “for whom” a certain thing is done.

For example, in the sentence Porto un regalo a Matteo, un regalo is what’s being given (the direct object), while Matteo is the guy receiving the present (the indirect object) and can be replaced with gli, as in Gli porto un regalo. This gli is our handy indirect object pronoun.

Italian Indirect Object Pronouns
  Italian English 
1° person singular (masc. / fem.) mi, me me
2° person singular (masc. / fem.) ti, te you
3° person singular (masc.) gli, le (formal), lui, lei (formal) him, it, you (formal)
3° person singular (fem.) le, le (formal), lei, lei (formal) her, it, you (formal)
1° person plural (masc. / fem.) ci, noi us
2° person plural (masc. / fem.) vi, voi you
3° person plural (masc.) gli, loro them
3° person plural (fem.) gli , loro them

Here are some examples:

  • Ho fatto un regalo a Gianni. —> Gli ho fatto un regalo. (I gave Gianni a gift. —> I gave him a gift.)

Gli replaces a Gianni

  • Mario ha chiesto a Elena se vuole venire con noi a Milano. (Mario asked Elena if she wants to come with us to Milan.)

becomes…

  • Mario le ha chiesto se vuole venire con noi a Milano. (Mario asked her if she wants to come with us to Milan.)

Le replaces a Elena

Here is another example: 

  • Hanno chiesto a noi di organizzare l’itinerario.(They asked us to organize the itinerary)

becomes

  • Ci hanno chiesto di organizzare l’itinerario. (They asked us to organize the itinerary.)

Ci replaces a noi

Click here to learn more about indirect object pronouns in Italian 

Italian Reflexive Pronouns Chart

Italian Pronouns - Italian Reflexive Pronouns ChartReflexive pronouns are a specific category of personal pronouns used when the subject of a sentence performs an action on itself. In other words, these pronouns step in when the same noun is both the subject doing the action and the object receiving it.

Italian Reflexive Pronouns
  Italian English
1° person singular (masc./ fem.) mi, me myself
2° person singular (masc./ fem.) ti, te yourself
3° person singular (masc./ fem.) si, sè himself, herself, itself
1° person plural (masc./ fem.) ci, noi ourselves
2° person plural (masc./ fem.) vi; voi yourself
3° person plural (masc./ fem.) si, sè themselves

Reflexive pronouns are commonly paired with reflexive verbs, which indicate that the subject of the sentence is performing an action on themselves. Examples of such verbs include lavarsi (to wash oneself), alzarsi (to get up), and pettinarsi (to comb one’s hair). In a sentence, reflexive pronouns usually come before the verb.

Here are some examples:

  • Ci vediamo tutti i fine settimana. (We see each other every weekend.)

Ci indicates that the action of seeing each other is performed by the subjects on themselves. Instead, if we say Vediamo i nostri amici tutti i fine settimana (We see our friends every weekend), that same action is directed towards others – the friends – not the subjects themselves.

  • Mi vesto e vado a fare colazione. (I dress myself and go have breakfast.)

Mi indicates that the action of getting dressed is being performed on the speaker.

  • Ieri si è tagliato facendosi la barba. (Yesterday he cut himself while shaving.)

Si indicates that the action of cutting is performed by the subject on himself.

Click here to learn more about reflexive pronouns in Italian 

Italian Possessive Pronouns Chart

Italian Pronouns - Italian Possessive Pronouns ChartPossessive pronouns are used to indicate ownership of a person or object, which is specified by the noun they substitute. They are commonly introduced by a definite article that matches the gender and number of the noun they refer to, like il (the) or le (the).

Italian Possessive Pronouns
  Italian English
  Masc. singular Masc. plural Fem. singular Fem. plural Masc. singular / plural Fem. singular / plural
1° person singular il mio i miei la mia le mie mine mine
2° person singular il tuo i tuoi la tua le tue yours yours
3° person singular il suo i suoi la sua le sue his, yours (polite) hers, yours (polite)
1° person plural il nostro i nostri la nostra le nostre ours ours
2° person plural il vostro i vostri la vostra le vostre yours yours
3° person plural il loro i loro la loro le loro theirs theirs

As you can see, they look exactly the same as Italian possessive adjectives, and they vary based on the person, gender, and number of the object in possession just like them. The key difference is that possessive adjectives always accompany a noun, while possessive pronouns stand alone, because they replace the noun.

Here are some examples:

  • La tua (possessive adjective) valigia è più pesante della mia (possessive pronoun). (Your suitcase is heavier than mine.)
  • Questo è il mio (possessive adjective) posto, quello è il tuo (possessive pronoun). (This is my place, that is yours.)
  • Ho dimenticato i trucchi, posso usare i vostri? (vostri = i vostri trucchi) (I forgot my makeup, can I use yours?)

Click here to learn more about possessive pronouns in Italian 

Italian Relative Pronouns Chart

Italian Pronouns - Italian Relative Pronouns ChartRelative pronouns are used to connect two sentences that share a common element by replacing the noun found in the main clause within the relative clause. Let’s clarify this with two sentences: 

  • Ho parlato con Anna. Anna mi ha detto di chiamarti. (I spoke with Anna. Anna told me to call you.)

These two sentences can be combined into a single sentence as follows: 

  • Ho parlato con Anna che mi ha detto di chiamarti.(I spoke with Anna, who told me to call you.)

In this combined sentence, the relative pronoun che refers to Anna, so we don’t have to keep saying her name. Relative pronouns in Italian can be divided into two categories: invariable, which means they do not change their form based on the gender and number of the noun they refer to, and variable:

Italian Relative Pronouns
Invariable Variable
CHE This is the most commonly used relative pronoun in Italian, equivalent to ‘who’ or ‘that’ in English. It can replace a subject or a direct object in a sentence and always follows the noun it refers to. 

Example: Il libro che ho letto è davvero interessante (The book I’ve read is really interesting).

IL QUALE (and its gender and number variants LA QUALE, I QUALI, LE QUALI) These pronouns can be translated as ‘which’ or ‘who’ in English and serve as more specific alternatives to “che” and “cui”, particularly to clearly specify the noun (antecedent) they refer to (however, in everyday Italian, “che” and “cui” are more commonly used than these forms). They are always used with a definite article. 

Example: La città nella quale si sono trasferiti è Milano (The city they moved to is Milan).

CUI This pronoun is used for replacing an indirect object in a sentence and is generally preceded by a preposition or an article, the choice of which depends on the verb it is associated with. 

Example: La casa in cui abito è molto grande (The house where I live is very big).

CHI This pronoun is used to replace a subject or a direct object, with the meaning: “everyone who” or “the person/people who.” It’s used in broader, more general references.

Example: Chi entra per ultimo deve chiudere la porta (Whoever enters last has to close the door).

Here are some examples:

  • Quel ragazzo è molto simpatico. Quel ragazzo lavora al bar.(That guy is really nice. That guy works at the bar.)
  • Quel ragazzo che lavora al bar è molto simpatico. (That guy, who works at the bar, is really nice.)

In this case, che refers to quel ragazzo, which functions as the subject of both clauses.

  • Ho comprato le mele. Le mele erano buonissime. (I bought apples. The apples were really good)
  • Le mele che ho comprato erano buonissime. (The apples I bought were really good.)

Here, che refers back to le mele from the first sentence, where it functions as a direct object.

  • Parlavo con quella ragazza. Quella ragazza è austriaca. (I was talking with that girl. That girl is Austrian).
  • Quella ragazza con cui parlavo è austriaca.(That girl I was talking to is Austrian.)  

Here, cui refers to quella ragazza, which is the indirect object of the verb ‘parlava’ in the first sentence.

  • Ho parlato con i suoi fratelli. I suoi fratelli sostengono di non averlo sentito. (I spoke with his brothers. His brothers said they haven’t heard from him.)
  • Ho parlato con i suoi fratelli, i quali sostengono di non averlo sentito.(I spoke with his brothers who said they haven’t heard from him.)

Here, i quali serves to link the second part of the sentence back to i suoi fratelli.

Click here to learn more about relative pronouns in Italian 

All Italian Pronouns Chart

Here’s a handy table to quickly see all the pronoun types we’ve covered in this guide.

Key Italian Pronouns
Subject Pronoun Direct Object Pronoun Indirect Object Pronoun Reflexive Pronouns Possessive Pronouns Relative Pronouns
i pronomi personali i pronomi diretti  i pronomi indiretti  i pronomi riflessivi i pronomi possessivi i pronomi relativi
io mi, me mi, me mi il mio, i miei, la mia, le mie che, chi, cui, il quale, la quale, i quali, le quali
tu ti,. te ti, te ti il tuo, i tuoi, la tua, le tue
lui, egli, esso, lei, ella, essa  lo, lui, la, lei, la (formal), lei (formal) gli, lui, le,  lei, le (formal),  lei (formal) si il suo, i suoi, la sua, le sue
noi ci, noi ci, noi ci il nostro, i nostri, la nostra, le nostre
voi vi, voi vi, voi vi il vostro, i vostri, la vostra, le vostre
loro, essi li, le, loro gli, loro si il loro, i loro, la loro, le loro

Italian Pronouns Chart - Summary of all Italian Pronouns

Keep practising!
Italian Pronouns Chart & Cheat-Sheet! (Free PDF Download)

Don't let the learning stop here. Download your free PDF guide to Italian pronouns.Includes pronouns chart and example sentences. Impariamo insieme! (Let's learn together!)

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Italian Pronouns Quiz

Alright, time for a fun little quiz to see how well you know the main Italian pronouns. Fill in the blanks in these sentences using the correct pronoun:

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