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.
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
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.
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.