English vs. Italian
In English, sometimes we use the same word to mean different things. Just think of the word “the” which in Italian can be translated as il, la, lo, I, le, and gli. It’s the same thing with “some”: there are different ways to say this in Italian. In English, we use “some” when we want to talk about an unspecified amount of something. For example, instead of saying “may I have half a pound of pasta?”, we would say “may I have some pasta?”. The same thing happens in Italian. In this lesson, we’re going to learn how to say some.
The partitive article
In Italian, to say “some”, we use what we call the “partitive article” which is expressed by the preposition di combined with the definite articles, like il or le, depending on the gender, number, and the sound that follows. Let’s have a look at this in more detail:
- di + il: del
- di + la: della
- di + l’: dell’ (before a vowel)
- di + lo: dello (before z, gn, ps, pn, or y)
- di + i: dei
- di + le: delle
- di + gli: degli (before a vowel, z, gn, ps, pn, or y)
Let’s now have a look at some examples so that it’s easier to understand how to use the partitive article.
- Mi puo portare del sale?
Can you bring me some salt?
- Vorrei della frutta fresca, per favore.
I’d like some fresh fruit, please.
- Vuoi dell’acqua?
Do you want some water?
- Vorrei dello zucchero.
I’d like some sugar.
- Ho comprato dei libri.
I bought some books.
- Anna va al cinema con delle compagne di scuola.
Anna is going to the cinema with some friends from school.
- Stasera esco con degli amici.
Tonight, I’m going out with some friends.