The definite article is required in a possessive noun phrase: il suo olio. The exception is for singular family members: mia sorella, but le mie sorelle.
In a possessive pronoun phrase, having the definite article or not subtly changes the connotation.
è la mia = it (not the other thing) is mine
è mia = it is mine (not yours)
Answered by Rae.F [see above]
"The definite article is required in a possessive noun phrase: il suo olio. The exception is for singular family members: mia sorella, but le mie sorelle.
"In a possessive pronoun phrase, having the definite article or not subtly changes the connotation.
"è la mia = it (not the other thing) is mine
"è mia = it is mine (not yours)"
What I get from this is perhaps more clear if, say, someone is herding cats, and picks one up and asks the curious crowd gathered around, "Whose cat is this?" And I say, "It's my cat"= è il mio gatto. The cat-herd hands me my cat.
I start to walk aways with my cat, but someone comes up to me says, "No, that's my cat. Give me that cat!"
I hold tight to the cat, not willing to let it go, "No, the cat is MINE!" = *No, il gatto è MIO!!!"
The cat decides he doesn't like either one of us, scratches both of us down to the bone, then runs to rejoin the herd.
Yes, His translates to suo for masculine nouns and sua for feminine nouns, and her does too and so does its.
The boy has his dog. "Il ragazzo ha il suo cane."
The boy has his pasta. "il ragazzo ha la sua pasta."
The girl has her dog "La ragazza ha il suo cane."
The girl has her pasta "La ragazza ha la sua pasta.
The animal has its food "L'animale ha il suo cibo."
The animal has its water "L'animale ha la sua acqua."
At last a comprehensive comprehensible explanation. Here's a lingo as thanks. Let's see if I have this straight. If we're talking about: "il cane" masc. we use "il suo" meaning either "his" or "her" Then "la pasta" fem. gets "la sua" = "his or hers" depending on context etc. Yes?
Yes, thank you! Here are some websites that helped me. http://italian.about.com/library/fare/blfare132a.htm http://www.italianlanguageguide.com/grammar/possessive-adjective.asp http://italian.about.com/library/fare/blfare124a.htm http://italian.about.com/od/grammar/a/omit-italian-definite-article.htm
Each one describes different exceptions for not using the article with the possessive.
tuo is singular informal "your" for tu.
Suo is singular formal for Lei; note it starts with capital.
vostro is plural informal for voi
Loro is plural formal for Loro. Note it starts with capital
Also see following: http://italian.about.com/library/fare/blfare132a.htm
Without context, which could be the rest of the conversation or just vocal inflection, we don't know where the emphasis is in the English sentence "The oil is his". It could mean "The OIL is his" or it could mean "The oil is HIS".
Since this is all we have to go on, both "è suo" and "è il suo" are equally valid. It's a bit like saying "I eat yours" could be "Mangio tuo", "Mangio tuoi", "Mangio tua", or "Mangio tue" depending on what exactly "yours" is referring to.
Careful: here you're learning the difference between 'the oil is his' (pronoun) and 'it is his oil' (adjective). The meaning is nearly the same but these are parts of speech you'll now know how to differentiate in the future... you wouldn't want to say 'this is mine cheese' or 'those are hers cookies' ;)
Since it's written with a small "s", it can only be "The oil is his" or "The oil is hers". Formal "you" would be "L'olio è Suo" (for one person) or "L'olio è Loro" (for more than one person).
"The oil is yours" informal/familiar would be "L'olio è tuo" (for one person) or "L'olio è vostro" (for more than one person).
"suo" is the possessive for something singular and masculine.
"suoi" is the possessive for something plural and masculine.
"sua" is the possessive for something singular and feminine.
"sue" is the possessive for something plural and feminine.
L'olio è suo = The oil is his/The oil is hers. "L'olio" is masculine, so the possessive must be masculine.
It is true that all of them translate into English as "his/her", but they are not interchangeable in Italian. For starters, they change based on what is possessed, not who possesses it. In English, we say "her thing" if the owner of the thing is female, but in Italian it's the grammatical gender of the thing that determines which one you use.
suo = singular, masculine thing (il suo letto = his/her bed)
suoi = plural, masculine things (i suoi letti = his/her beds)
sua = singular, feminine thing (la sua scrivania = his/her desk)
sue = plural, feminine things (le sue scrivanie = his/her desks)
Possessives, like articles and other adjectives, must agree with the noun it's attached to. This means that it doesn't matter whose it is, the gender of the possessive must match the thing, not who owns it.
For all of the following, the possessives are masculine singular; feminine singular; masculine plural; feminine plural:
il mio; la mia; i miei; le mie
il tuo; la tua; i tuoi; le tue
il suo; la sua; i suoi; le sue
il nostro; la nostra; i nostri; le nostre
il vostro; la vostra; i vostri; le vostre
il loro; la loro; i loro; le loro
So you cannot tell from "L'olio è suo" whether the oil belongs to a man or a woman. It must be "suo" because "olio" is masculine singuar. Likewise, "i suoi gatti" can equally be "his cats" or "her cats".
OK I think this needs to be reported because this can also mean "the oil is yours(formal you)" which I put and which is accepted in the description, but wasn't accepted when I typed it. Some help please. and I don't need someone saying suo=his...it can also mean formal 'you' i.e. someone you don't know.
According to the discussion I saw on " The oil is his" (in the link above) Nitram says the definite article must appear at least one time in a sentence containing possessive pronouns (except for certain family members, of course). So, both of these are correct [translation for "The oil is his"]:
L'olio è suo. L'olio è il suo.
I did not see that Nitram said there was a difference in meaning between the two.
You say they're not interchangeable; that
"L'olio è il suo" means "The oil (and not that other) is his/hers."
"L'olio è suo" means "The oil is his/hers (and not someone else's)."
How can you both be correct? Is there an error? Is there someone from Duolingo that can clarify?
How can you know the gender in this case?
L'olio è suo can be either "The oil is his." or "The oil is hers."
Why the aswers is "his" and not "her:?
"his" is both a possessive determiner and a possessive pronoun.
"her" is only a possessive determiner.
Here, you need a possessive pronoun -- something that can stand by itself, not something that goes before a noun.
Similarly, you would say "The oil is mine", not "The oil is my".
Thus you need "hers" and not "her".
With "his", the two forms happen to be the same.