1. Education
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Italian Possessive Adjectives

Aggettivi Possessivi in Italian


Italian possessive adjectives modify nouns and indicate the possessor as well as the thing possessed (that's why they're called possessive adjectives!). They agree in gender and number with the noun being referred to.

  • suo, sua, suoi, and sue mean di lui (his) or di lei (her), and refer to a single person:
I suoi (di lui / di lei) amici sono simpatici.
His (her) friends are amiable.

L'attore recita la sua parte (di lui).
The actor plays his part.

Scrivi il suo numero (di lui / di lei).
Write his (her) number.

  • loro is invariable and always refers to two or more people:

È il loro cantante preferito.
It's their favorite singer.

I tuoi fratelli e i loro amici...
Your brothers and their friends...

  • proprio and altrui are considered third-person possessive adjectives such as suo and loro:

Educa i propri (suoi) figli.
Raise your children.

Pensano solo ai propri (loro) interessi.
They only think of their own interests.

Non desiderare le cose altrui (di altri).
Do not covet what belongs to others.

» proprio acts to reinforce the modifier when combined with other possessive adjectives

I nostri propri desideri
Our own desires

Con le mie proprie orecchie
With my own ears

NOTE: proprio must be used:

» in sentences which suo and loro do not clearly indicate the owner

Lucia, dopo aver parlato con Marta, salì sulla sua propria automobile (di Lucia).
Lucia, after talking with Martha, got into his own car.

» when the subject of the sentence is indeterminate, instead of suo and loro

Ciascuno di voi faccia il proprio dovere.
Each of you meet your obligations.

» in impersonal phrases

Si pensa solo ai propri interessi
He only considers his own interests.

Ci si duole dei propri malanni
One regrets their misfortunes.

» altrui (di un altro, di altri) is invariable like loro; it indicates an unspecific owner and refers only to a person

I fatti altrui non m'interessano.
I am not interested in other people's business.

Si sacrifica per il bene altrui.
He sacrifices himself for the good of others.

  • As a rule, possessive adjectives are preceded by an article:

la mia auto
my car

il tuo vestito
your dress

il vostro lavoro
your work

NOTE: The article is not used, though:

» with the names of family members in the singular: marito, moglie, padre, madre, figlio, figlia, fratello, sorella

Mio padre è partito.
My father left.

Mia sorella e vostro fratello sono usciti insieme.
My sister and your brother left together.

There are two exceptions to this exclusion, though:

» mamma and papà

la tua mamma
your mom

il suo papà
his dad

» names of family members preceded by loro (which always takes the article) or an aggettivo qualificativo (qualifying adjective)

il loro fratello
their brother

il suo buon padre
his kind father

la sua cara madre
his dear mother

  • The possessive adjective usually comes before the noun. It is placed after the noun when intending to give more prominence to the possessor:

Mio padre si chiama Franco.
My father's name is Franco.

È mia sorella.
It is my sister.

La nostra casa
Our house

Questa è casa nostra.
This is our home.

» In exclamations it often follows the word to which it refers:

Caro mio!
My dear!

Dio mio!
My God!

  • In Italian, the possessive adjective is not expressed:

» when referring to body parts

Mi sono lavato le mani.
I washed my hands.

La testa mi duole.
My head hurts.

» if the owner is evident from the context

Prima di andare prendo il cappotto.
Before I go I'll take my coat.


  1. About.com
  2. Education
  3. Italian Language
  4. Grammar
  5. Adjectives
  6. Italian Possessive Adjectives - Aggettivi Possessivi in Italiano

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.