"They are my brothers."
Translation:Loro sono i miei fratelli.
I thought that if you are referring to close family like brothers or parents you do not use the article. Confused.
In case of family names we use an article: 1. in plural ex. i vostri figli, 2. always with LORO ex. la loro figlia, 3. when the noun is defined ex. il mio fratello magiore.
Italian possessive adjectives reject the article when they refer to unmodified family members in the singular.
If the family member is plural or preceder by another adjective or suffix, it retains the article; mamma, papà, nonno, and nonna can go with or without an article:
Mia sorella é bella / Le mie sorelle sono belle... but also la mia bella sorella or la mia sorellina
Mio zio é vecchio /I miei zii sono vecchi... but also il mio vecchio zio
Mia madre ha 50 anni / La mia cara madre ha 50 anni
Mi manca mia nonna / Mi manca la mia nonna
I don't understand when it is appropriate to use the article before the possesive with people? Is that what is making it optional? (i.e. la mia sorella vs. mia sorella)
Here you could say it even without article, but with it it is more natural.
I cannot explain you very well why... I think that with plural nouns, it's better to use the article for relatives.
"I miei fratelli vanno al mercato."
"I miei nipotini sono ancora piccoli."
"I miei suoceri sono simpatici."
"L'hai detto alle tue sorelle?"
I was told from a native Italian that the article is used in the case of plural subjects.