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Someone, no one, something, nothing : Italian grammar lesson 121

Someone, no one, something, nothing in Italian

In Italian, to talk about an indefinite person or thing we use indefinite pronouns. Some of the most commonly used are: qualcuno (some, someone), qualcosa (something), nessuno (no one) and niente (nothing).

These pronouns loosely indicate the number of the thing or the identity of the person we are talking about.

  • C’è qualcuno alla porta.
    There is someone at the door.
  • C’è qualcosa che non va.
    Something is not right.

In the examples given above, we know that there is someone at the door, but we do not know who, and we know there is something that isn’t right, but do not know or want to tell what.

no one in italian

Qualcuno, qualcosa, nessuno, niente: Rules

Qualcuno

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Qualcuno can indicate an undefined quantity of things or people. It has a feminine form, qualcuna, and it is always singular.

  • Ho comprato tantissime pesche, prendine qualcuna.
    I bought a lot of peaches, take some.

Qualcuno can also indicate one unspecified person. In this case, it is always masculine.

  • C’è qualcuno alla porta.
    There is someone at the door.

Qualcosa

Qualcosa or qualche cosa is used to talk about one or more things. It is always singular and goes with masculine adjectives.

  • C’è qualcosa di strano.
    There is something strange.

someone in italian

Nessuno

Nessuno refers to nothing or no one. It has a feminine form, nessuna, and it is always singular.

  • Non c’era nessuno al cinema.
    There was no one at the cinema.
  • Non ho nessuna maglietta rossa.
    I have no red t-shirts.

Niente

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Niente and nulla are synonyms, and they mean “nothing”. They both only have a singular form and go with the masculine form.

  • Oggi non c’era niente di buono da mangiare a scuola.
    Today there was nothing good to eat at school.

Nulla, when used in a question, means “something / anything”.

  • Hai saputo nulla?
    Have you heard anything?

something in italian

Indefinite pronouns: More examples

There are many more indefinite pronouns and adjective in Italian, here are some more that you could find useful:

Alcuni / alcune

Alcuni / alcune (some): This only exists in the plural, both masculine and feminine.

  • Alcuni studenti / Alcune studentesse non hanno passato l’esame.
    Some students did not pass the exam.

Chiunque

 Chiunque (anyone) only refers to people. It only has a singular form.

  • Se non chiudi, potrà entrare chiunque.
    If you do not lock, anyone will be able to enter.

Ognuno

Ognuno / ognuna (Every one / Each one). This has a feminine form and only exists in the singular form.

  • Ognuno di noi ha il diritto di esprimere le proprie opinioni.
    Every one of us has the right to express their opinion.
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