Italian demonstratives

Today I talk about Italian demonstratives. Demonstratives indicate the object or person a speaker refers to. In English they are this, that, these, those. Demonstratives are very used in every language, so it’s essential to master them.

Let’s now see some Italian demonstrative adjectives and pronouns.

ITALIAN DEMONSTRATIVES USED BOTH AS ADJECTIVES AND PRONOUNS

SINGULAR PLURAL
It indicates something or someone that Masculine Feminine Masculine Feminine
is near the speaker Questo - Quest' (this) Questa - Quest' (this) Questi (these) Queste (these)
is far away from the speaker and the listener Quello - Quel - Quell' (that) Quella - Quell' (that) Quelli - Quei - Quegli (those) Quelle (those)
has been already mentioned Stesso - Medesimo (the same) Stessa - Medesima (the same) Stessi - Medesimi (the same ones) Stesse - Medesime (the same ones)

Just remember that medesimo is formal. And both stesso and medesimo are preceded by an article.

SOME EXAMPLES

  • Questa casa è troppo grande -> This house is too big;
  • Quel motorino è di Sabrina -> That is Sabrina’s motorbike;
  • Questi cani non abbaiano mai ->These dogs never bark;
  • Queste camere sono orribili -> these rooms are horrible;
  • Quei sandali sono troppo stretti -> Those sandals are too tight;
  • Quelle papere hanno fame -> Those ducks are hungry;
  • Quest’estate andrò in Grecia -> This Summer I’m going to Greece;
  • Questo maglione ha lo stesso/medesimo colore della tua macchina -> This sweater has the same color of your car;

USE

1- When questo and quello – and their inflected forms – are used as adjectives, they are always placed before nouns.

Example: Questa matita è mia (This pencil is mine);

2- It is not uncommon that both questo and quello – and their inflected forms – are followed by an adverb of place to add emphasis. Questo/a/i/e is generally followed by qui, qua (here), while quello/a/i/e is generally followed by , (there): 

Examples: Questo qui/qua è il mio libro (this is my book); Quella lì/ è la sua bicicletta (that bike is hers);

3- Quest’, Quell’ and Quell’ are used before a noun starting with a vowel.

Example: Quest’anno (this year); Quell’amica (that friend); Quell’esame (that exam);

4- Quello and Quegli are used when the word that follows them starts with:

  • s followed by another consonant -> quello stambecco (that ibex); quegli stambecchi (those ibexes);
  • gn -> quello gnomo (that gnome); quegli gnomi (those gnomes);
  • z -> quello zio (that uncle); quegli zii (those uncles);
  • x -> quello xilofono (that xylophone); quegli xilofoni (those xylophones);
  • y and i followed by a vowel -> quello yogurt (that yogurt); quegli iugoslavi (those jugoslavos)
  • pn and ps -> quello psichiatra (the psychiatrist); quegli pneumatici (those tyres)

Quegli is also used with words starting with a vowel -> quegli elefanti

ITALIAN DEMONSTRATIVES USED ONLY AS PRONOUNS

SINGULAR PLURAL
It indicates Masculine Feminine Masculine Feminine
a person near the speaker Costui (this person) Costei (this person) Costoro (these persons) Costoro (these persons)
a person that is far from both speaker and listener Colui (that person) Colei (that person) Coloro (those persons) Coloro (those persons)
a thing Ciò (this)

Costui and its inflected forms are formal and literary. They are usually replaced with lui or questa persona – and their inflected forms.

Colui and its inflected forms are formal. In standard Italian they are generally replaced with quello or la persona – and their inflected forms.

SOME EXAMPLES

  • Costui è un truffatore -> This person is a swindler;
  • Possono entrare solo coloro che hanno pagato il biglietto -> Only those who paid the ticket can enter;
  • Ciò che dici non ha senso -> What you’re saying is nonsense;
  • Costoro sono degli ottimi giocatori: These persons are very good players;

Elementary Italian grammar

 

I really hope this article has helped you understanding and learning Italian demonstratives. Feel free to post your comments below.

If you need to master or revise basic Italian grammar, have a look at my book Sos Italian grammar A1-A2.

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