casa mia/la mia casa

I learned that in Italian, possessive adjectives are preceded by definite articles; so, is "casa mia" an exception to the rule? Are there other examples like the one above? Thank you

December 17, 2018


I learned that in Italian, possessive adjectives are preceded by definite articles

Yes, in general possessive adjectives are coupled to definite articles, in this way:

E' IL mio cane. / E' IL cane mio. (It's my dog)

note: the adjective is moved after a noun when you want to give more emphasis/for stronger exclamations; in effect this solution is also frequent in consolidated expressions (exclamations or not) such as:

mamma mia! (exclamation)
mio Dio!/Dio mio! (exclamation)
figlio mio (!) (exclamation/vocative exp.)
moglie mia (!) (exclamation/vocative exp.)
fratello mio (!) (exclamation/vocative exp.)
amico mio (!) (exclamation/vocative exp.)
mio caro (!)/caro mio (!) (exclamation/vocative exp.)

and as you see for some of them the possessive article is always after the noun. So Cristoforo advised you very well about this.

The exceptions about the + possessive adjective in the second section.

To complete when there are possessive pronouns you always have to use definite articles, except when they are preceded by the verb essere, in this case articles become facultative:

Di chi è questo cane? (1) E' il mio (2) E' mio.
(Whose dog is this? It's mine.)
(1) Questo è mio e quello è tuo. (2) Questo è il mio e quello è il tuo.
(This is mine and that is yours.)

instead here:

La mia casa è in città mentre la tua è in campagna.
(My house is in town while yours is in the country.)
I miei occhi sono blu invece i suoi sono marroni.
(My eyes are blue instead hers are brown.)
La mia gonna è rossa e la tua (è) gialla.
(My skirt is red and yours [is] yellow.)

usually these are sentences where there is a contrast about characterisics or situations.

note: this exception about essere doesn't work with loro (3rd person plural), since we only use definite article + loro, in any case. e.g.

Quello è il loro. / Il loro è quello. (That one is theirs.)

as the simple loro means they and them, personal pronouns.

so, is "casa mia" an exception to the rule? Are there other examples like the one above?

Talking about adjectives only, articles are omitted in various cases:


marito (husband), moglie (wife)
madre (mother), padre (father)
figlio (son/generic child), figlia (daugther/generic child)
fratello (brother), sorella (sister)
nonno (grandfather), nonna (grandomother)
nipote (grandchild/grandson/granddaughter - nephew/niece)
cugino (cousin), cugina (cousin)
cognato (brother in law), cognata (sister in law)
suocero (father in law), suocera (mother in law) ect

So, if they are plural you need articles e.g.

Mio fratello. / I miei fratelli. Mia nonna. / Le mie nonne.


a. the rule just mentioned is not applied to loro, that wants the article, so taking the same example above: Il loro fratello / I loro fratelli.

b. about some singular names, there are particular contexts where you might find articles too, i.e. when talking affectionately underlining mio/mia e.g. with grandmather/grandfather:

Vado a fare una passeggiata con (la) mia nonna.
(I'm going for a walk with my grandmother.)

but this is a particular excepition, also it's very frequent in the regional language (Tuscany: la mi nonna - dialect), so I advise you to follow always the general rule in (1).

c. despite singular names, you always need articles when there are:

▪ names modified with suffixes such as:

-olo/a, -ino/a, -astro/a, -occio/a, -etto/a ect. e.g.

mio figlio → il mio figliolo
mio figlio → il mio figlioccio
mio fratello → il mio fratellino
mio nipote → il mio nipotino
mia moglie → la mia mogliettina
mia sorella → la mia sorellastra
mia cugina → la mia cuginetta

▪ names modified by other ways:

mio marito → il mio ex marito (my ex husband)
mia moglie → la mia ex moglie (my ex wife)
mio marito → il mio secondo marito (my second husband)
mia moglie → la mia seconda moglie (my second wife)
mio nonno → il mio bisnonno (my great-grandfather)
mia nonna → la mia bisnonna (my great-grandmother)
mia madre → la mia matrigna (my stepfather)
mio padre → il mio patrigno (my stepmother)
mia madre → la mia mamma (my mom)
mio padre → il mio papà / il mio babbo (my dad)

however, about il mio papà / la mia mamma, I add that in the spoken language often articles are omitted, and this trend is mentioned in dictionaries by now.

▪ names with descriptive adjectives e.g.

la mia cara figlia (my dear daughter)
la mia dolce sorella (my sweet sister)
la mia figlia maggiore (my eldest daughter)

▪ names of those people who are not properly family members yet e.g.

il mio ragazzo (my boyfriend)
la mia fidanzata (my fiancée)
la mia compagna (my partner)
il mio sposo / la mia sposa (my groom/my bride).


■2a with the nouns casa provided the adjective is at the end e.g.

E' la sua casa. / E' casa sua.
(It's his/her house)
Siamo nella sua casa. / Siamo in - a casa sua.
(We are in - at his/her house)
Amo la tua casa. / Amo casa tua.
(I love your house.)

■2b with the noun amico it's possible to delete the article or not in phrases with the verb essere, here are all the solutions e.g.

Lui è il mio amico. / Lui è mio amico.
Lui è l'amico mio. / Lui è amico mio.
(He is my friend.)

Io sono la sua amica. / Io sono sua amica.
Io sono l'amica sua. / Io sono amica sua.
(I'm his/her friend.)

but changing meaning: with articles "a particular friend" e.g. the one of which one already talked, whitout it only like "we are friends".

■2c when there are some nouns + some simple prepositions of place e.g.

scuola + the preposition a (in/at/to), but putting the adjective at the end e.g.

Mio padre insegna a scuola mia. / nella mia scuola. / alla mia scuola.
(My father teaches at my school.)
In autunno si iscriverà a scuola mia. / alla mia scuola. / nella mia scuola.
(In the fall he'll enroll in my school.)
Stiamo andando a scuola loro. / alla loro scuola. / nella loro scuola.
(We're going to their school.)

add the example with casa above.

▪ various nouns + preposition in (in/to), and putting the possessive adjective at the end e.g.

Quanti studenti ci sono in classe tua? / nella classe tua?
(How many students are there in your class?)
Sto andando in camera mia. / nella camera mia.
(I'm going to my bedroom.)
I tuoi soldi sono in tasca sua. / nella tasca sua.
(Your money is in her poket.)

add the example with casa here, too.

■2d in many expressions which follow the construct essere + possessive adjective + (specific) nouns e.g.

E' mia impressione
(It is my impression)
E' mia intenzione
(It is my intention)
E' mio dovere / compito / obbligo
(It is my duty)
E' mio convincimento
(It is my persuasion)
E' mia responsabilità
(it's my responsability)

and you can also put adjectives at the end here e.g.
E' responsabilità mia, E' compito mio ect.

■2e with other expressions even without that construct e.g.

A mio giudizio
(In my opinion)
Per mia curiosità
(For my curiosity)
A mia difesa / discolpa
(In my defense)
Ho sue notizie / Non ho sue notizie
(I have news from him/her; I have no news from him/her)
Di mio gradimento
(To my liking/taste)
In mio aiuto
(To my aid)
Come tuo rappresentante / tuo insegnante / tuo amico ect..
(As your agent / your teacher / your friend ect.)
A mia insaputa
(Without my knowledge or behind my back)


■3a demonstrative adjectives e.g.

questi miei amici / questi amici miei
(these friends of mine)

■3b indefinite adjectives e.g.

molti miei amici / molti amici miei
(many friends of mine)
ogni mio amico / ogni amico mio
(every friends of mine/ each of my friends)

■3c interrogative adjectives e.g.

Quale tuo amico? / Quale amico tuo?
(Which friend of yours?)

■3d numeral adjectives, but we must distinguish, cardinal numbers can avoid the article in some case e.g.

una mia amica
(one friend of mine)
due mie amiche
(two friends of mine)

(or not literally one/two of my friends)
instead pay attention to another construction:

una delle mie amiche / due delle mie amiche
(one/two of my friends)
[here delle = di + LE]

whereas ordinal numbers always want articles before possessive a. e.g.

la mia prima casa
(my first house)
il mio secondo esame
(my second test)


December 17, 2018

Way better explained. I'm not on that level yet. Lingots for you Emy. =)

December 17, 2018

As always very kind, thanks! But I'm italian while you're american, so to me you're good. And I see you're taking the course English<-Italian, so you're way ahead of me! :) In case we don't "see" each other again, ti auguro di trascorrere un felice Natale!

December 18, 2018

Ti ringrazio. Buon Natale a Voi. Maybe one day I'll be good at Italian, but getting back Napulitano is the main goal, only thing I really care about. Ciao Abruzzo. a salut'

December 19, 2018

A native speaker can explain it far better than I, but I'll take a stab at it. Adding the possessive at the end of the noun gives more meaning to it, more emotion. il mio amico, amico mio. la mia amica, amica mia. Mamma mia! I can't think of other examples at the moment, but it doesn't work for everything, it will sound awkward. And if I'm not mistaken some regions use the reverse more than other regions.

December 17, 2018

Very neatly explained!

The possessive adjective follows the noun:

  • to place a clear emphasis on the possessive ("This is my seat, yours is over there");

  • in exclamations (Mamma mia!, Figlio mio!, etc.);

  • Addressing emphatically the listener with a vocative expression, at the beginning of the sentence: Amico mio..., Caro mio,..., Figlio mio,..., etc.;

  • in some dialects, simply as an alternative to the usual word order (article-possessive-noun), but not in standard Italian.

December 17, 2018

Grazie Civis.

December 17, 2018

Cristo. Couldn't have put it better. Tanti auguri e buon Natale.

December 17, 2018

Linda, Grazie. Buon Natale anche a te. Babbo Natale, but don't forget about Befana, she comes much later =). And in the spirit of natale..

December 17, 2018

Ciao napulità! :) Congratulations, I like your post very much, a lingot for you.

December 17, 2018

Grazie a tutti!

December 18, 2018
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