Subject Pronouns

Pronomi Personali Soggetto

Introduction Introduzione
Also called personal pronouns, subject pronouns tell you who is doing the action of a sentence.

They are especially important in Italian because verb conjugations change depending on the subject.

In English, the subject pronouns are "you", "I", "he", "she", "we", "they" and "it".

Italian is slightly more complicated, because it uses formality, contains more gender inflection, and has literary pronouns not commonly used in conversation.

For example, in regards to formality, "you" can translate as both tu (informal) and lei (formal), which also translates as "she", the second-person feminine pronoun, depending on the context. You use Lei - with capital L - when addressing people older than you, regardless of their gender.

"They" and "it" can also translate in several ways because of both have a masculine and feminine form. Esso is the masculine and neutral word for "it", and the plural form is essi (they). Essa is the feminine word for "it", and esse is its plural.

Another point of confusion for many English speakers is the difference between lui and egli which both translate as "he" and lei and ella which both translate as "she". In general, egli and ella are only used in writing or very formal occasions. Lui and lei are the conversational forms.

Because verbs change so much depending on the subject, the pronoun can often be dropped entirely from sentences. For instance, instead of saying lei è bella. (she is beautiful), you can simply è bella if "she" has been established in earlier contexts.
Singular First-person
Play io
I
Second-person
Play tu
you informal
Third-person
Play lui
he conversational
Play egli
he literary
Play lei
she conversational
Play ella
she literary
Play esso
it
Play Lei
you formal
Plural First-person
Play noi
we
Second-person
Play Voi
you all formal
Play voi
you all informal
Third-person
Play essi
they masculine
Play esse
they feminine
Play loro
they
Have questions about this lesson?

Get a video answer from a Polly Ambassador, if your question is relevant and interesting.

Change language Français Español English Italiano Deutsch Português