Italian School of Dallas
Learn Italian with the Italian School of Dallas!

Indefinite Articles

Indefinite articles are that part of speech used to introduce, an object, a person or an idea previously unmentioned in the conversation.  In English the indefinite article is a or an, before nouns that start with a vowel.

Example: I saw a beautiful red car today.

In Italian definite articles vary depending on the gender of the noun they refer to and the letter (or first two letters) the noun starts with.
Here they are:

Masculine Singular

Uno  - Used with masculine singular nouns that start with s+consonant, z, ps, gn,y:

Uno studente, uno sbaglio (a mistake), uno zio, uno yogurt

Un - Used with masculine nouns that start with any other consonant and with nouns that start with any vowel:

Un gatto (a cat), un albero (a tree), un bambino (a child), un libro (a book), 

Feminine Singular

Una - Used with feminine singular nouns that start with any consonant:

Una penna (a pen), una bambina (a child), una ragazza, una scuola

Un' - Used with feminine singular nouns that start with any vowel:

Un'amica (a female friend), un'ispezione (an inspection), un'unghia (a fingernail) 

Please note that, just like in English, indefinite articles are only used with singular nouns.  For plural you must use a partitive (some), as alcuni, or the plural of the preposition di+definite articles.  We will study that later on.