Rule for definite articles.




I'm wondering if there are some other exceptions for when we don't need definite articles before nouns.

^That has a lot of great info, but it doesn't explain why there aren't def. articles in a sentence like "Un caffè con latte e zucchero, per favore." I thought that maybe they're not used after "con," but then I remembered "una pizza con la mozzarella." What are the rules here?


Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor

Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor

Hi Mike,

There's really no grammar rule to follow in this case. It's a matter of sound, not grammar.

Un caffè con il latte e con lo zucchero is grammatically correct, but it's much less common than un caffè con latte e zucchero because it sounds bad. Not wrong at all, just bad. It sounds redundant, and this is why the articles are usually left out.

But! When you're describing a dish containing just one ingredient, as in Pizza con la mozzarella, the article is retained because it already sounds good. It would actually sound odd without the article!

Here are a couple of examples of this behavior:

Tè con lo zenzero. (Tea with ginger)
Tè con zenzero e cannella. (Tea with ginger and cinnamon.)

Pizza con il prosciutto crudo.
Pizza con prosciutto crudo e carciofi.

Pasta con le ortiche.
Pasta con ortiche e radicchio.

Of course you can also say Pizza con il prosciutto crudo e i carciofi, or also Pasta con le ortiche e il radicchio, but it's common usage to leave out the articles to generate a better sounding sentence.

Hope this helped!

Also, buon Natale e buon 2016! :)


Grazie, a te buon Natale anche. Anche buon presto anno nuovo, though at the rate I'm using RI, I'm sure I'll have another question you can help with before then!

Thanks for the explanation. That helps with "con," but what are the rules for the definite article after "di" in something like "il bicchiere di vino rosso," or "succo d'arancia"?

Thanks again,


Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor

Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor

When di is used as a preposition with the meaning of of to say that "something is made of something", or "something of something", no definite article is used. The same happens in English:

Un bicchiere di vino.
A glass of wine.

Succo d'arancia.
Orange juice, "juice of orange".

Un maglione di lana.
A sweater [made out] of wool.

When it's used with the meaning of "some", "a few", for example when describing an uncertain quantity of something, it is combined with the definite article to form the partitive article, as explained in the course.

Voglio del vino. [di + il]
I want some wine.

Voglio delle uova. [di + le]
I want some / a few eggs.

The forms of the definite article - and, consequently, of the partitive article - vary, of course, depending on the beginning letter, number and gender of the nouns they precede.

Don't hesitate to ask if you have any other questions!


Ok, thanks!


How about "una doppia con bagno"? Is it not "il bagno" because it simply sounds better?
Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor

Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor

No, that's without article! Una doppia con bagno. Una singola con vista sul mare... Italian is a very fickle language, I know :D

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