Italian articles with names and surnames

Italian articles are sometimes used in front of first names and surnames.

La Perotti lavora al supermercato.
Perotti works at the supermarket.

two women gossiping

Why is that, and how do you use them? Let’s start with the explanation right away!


How to use the Italian articles with first names and surnames

We have seen in previous lessons how to use the Italian definite and indefinite articles.

For example, you could say…

Il merlo cattura un verme.
The blackbird catches a worm.

Una sedia è rotta.
A chair is broken.

man falling from chair

Now let’s see how they are used with names and surnames.


Italian articles with first names

Articles are generally not allowed in front of first names.

Mattia sta dormendo.
Mattia is sleeping.

Hai visto Alice di recente?
Have you seen Alice recently?

In Northern Italy and Tuscany, however, it’s common in spoken language only to use a definite article before feminine first names.

This is not found in the written language and in polite situations.

Ho visto la Chiara di recente.
I saw Chiara recently.

Hai chiamato la Simona?
Did you call Simona?

Sono andato dalla Michela a portarle un regalo.
I went to Michela’s to bring her a gift.

kids playing with plastic glasses

Italian articles with surnames

Articles are generally not used in front of singular surnames that describe men.

Bernardini compie cinquant’anni.
Bernardini turns 50 years old.

Mozart è stato un grande compositore.
Mozart was a great composer.

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However, an article is often used in front of singular surnames that describe women. This is not a mandatory rule: you can do without the article.

Meloni si trova a Bruxelles ora.
Meloni is in Brussels now.

La Lorenzini ha preso 4 nella verifica di matematica.
Lorenzini got an F on the math test.

La Rowling ha scritto i romanzi di Harry Potter.
Rowling wrote the Harry Potter novels.

magician boy with a staff and a book

Italian articles with family names

Family names are always preceded by one of the masculine plural definite articles.

I Simpson vivono a Springfield.
The Simpsons live in Springfield.

Il cane dei Rossetti ha morso un passante.
The Rossettis’ dog bit a passerby.

And that’s the end of our guide to the Italian articles with names and surnames! If you still have any doubts, feel free to leave a comment.


Now what?

Now that you’ve seen how the Italian articles with names and surnames, you might want to keep learning Italian online with these free Italian resources:

Or you might also want an excellent offline Italian grammar resource to take with you at all times (Amazon).

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