Suo and Tuo



Im currently studying Italian using Rocket, Paul Noble and Duolingo.

In the Paul Noble course he refers to “your  father” as “suo padre”. Should that not be “tuo padre”?

According to the link below, “suo” means “his/her/it’s”.

If someone was able to confirm which is correct I would very much appreciate it?


Can anyone give me any feedback on this please?

Any help would be great. 


I haven't got quite so far into the course itself yet, but as I understand it Italian often (always?) takes the feminine 3rd-person singular form of such words and capitalises it for the formal variation of the 'normal' 2nd-person singular form. So I imagine "tuo padre" and "suo padre" are both valid for 2nd-person singular but the latter is formal.

It could just be the general 3rd-person singular but an Italian friend of mine during uni made a point of the notion above.


Thanks Matthew

I've done some more Googling and what I have found agrees with your explanation.

Many thanks for your help. 


Hi Paolo_Guitar, 

Thanks for your question! What MatthewM137 specified is correct: sometimes, in Italian, we use the 3rd-person singular form to express formality.

The adjective "suo" generally means "his/her", as in: "suo padre" - "his/her father".
However, if we speak directly to someone we are not familiar with or to whom we need to be formal, then we would say "suo padre" ("your father"). 

Let me give you a quick example:

Formal context:
IT: Signore, suo padre la sta aspettando.
ENG: Sir, your father is waiting for you.

Informal context:
IT: Non conosco Maria, ma conosco suo padre.
ENG: I don't know Maria, but I know her father.

Hope this helps :-) 


Many thanks Caterina for your explanation. It is very helpful :-)

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