Il, lo, l', la, i, gli, le

il, lo, l', la, i, gli, le are all words for "the".

In the singular...

  • il is used with masculine words beginning with most consonants: il sole - the sun, il centro - the centre.

  • lo with masculine words beginning with z or s + consonant: lo zucchero - the sugar, lo sport - the sport.

  • l' with masculine and feminine words beginning with a vowel: l'ufficio turistico - the tourist office, l'acqua - the water.

  • la with feminine words beginning with a consonant: la figlia - the daughter, la spiaggia - the beach.

In the plural (ie more than one)...

  • i is used with masculine words beginning with most consonants: i negozi - the shops, i vini - the wines.

  • gli with masculine words beginning with a vowel or with z or s + consonant: gli uffici - the offices, gli alberghi - the hotels.

  • le with all feminine words: le vetrine - the shop windows, le aranciate - the orange drinks.

September 13, 2013

  • 2115

Good work. There is a bit more complexity to the rule for impure consonants though: lo iodio, lo psicologo, lo pneumatico, lo xilofono. Rather uncommon words anyway.

September 13, 2013

Your last name means "ant" in English! How cool is that?!

July 28, 2017

this is going to sound like a really stupid question.

isn't U a vowel in Italian ? you said that you use "lo" when you have masculine words that start with z or s + a consonant

lo zucchero has a vowel after the z

someone please help me i'm lost

May 22, 2017

Yes you are right! The rule as far as I've learned it from my native teacher for "lo" is as follows:

s+consonant or x,y,z like lo xilofono,lo yoghurt, lo zucchero independent of whether the subsequent letter is a consonant or a vowel. Its just the first letter that matters :)

PS: If you are very keen on proficiency you can extend this rule for some exceptions affecting only a few special words starting with: PS & PN &GN i+Vowel The latter one only affects 155 Italian words of which 90% are related to iod- or ion- so you could also just learn these two words as exception :D

July 17, 2017

great @persianomad

February 7, 2018

I'm not sure what your question is asking. "Z" is a consonant, so it uses one of the articles for words that begin with a consonant, "lo," and "il." Then, because that consonant is specifically a "z," then it uses the article for "z" words, "lo." The second letter does not matter, unless it is an "s." I hope this helped. If not, could you please be more clear about the question you're asking.

June 11, 2017


July 7, 2017

Molto utile. Grazie!!

July 18, 2017

What do we use for feminine words that begin with z? Do we treat this the same as any other feminine word beginning with a consonant?

I’m thinking along the lines of aunt (Zia).

Is it just masculine words beginning with Z that we treat differently from the ‘norm’ (lo instead of il)?

Thank you! Hope that makes sense.

February 12, 2018
  • 1975

Yes, that is just for the masculine.

August 7, 2018

good work , thanks

September 19, 2013

Very helpful, thanks!

October 28, 2013

Also I wanna learn

February 27, 2017


March 8, 2017

Just what I needed. Thank you!

June 27, 2017

Thanks, it helped me a lot.

January 31, 2018

thanks for enlightenment

September 28, 2018
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