Italian Possessives Question

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ScoobyDooby
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Italian Possessives Question

Postby ScoobyDooby » Mon Jul 19, 2021 5:54 pm

Hi, I'm a beginner Italian student and struggling with some of the possessive plurals. Specifically, why it's "le sue forbici" and not "i suoi forbici"? It's confusing because I thought the articles needed to match the nouns, and usually the "-i" (suoi, nostri, etc.) ending would be used. Are there certain words that break the rule or am I missing something?
Also, the plural formal "Suo/Sua/Sue" versus "le/la Loro" when talking about two or more people in possession of something is giving me the same issue. I hope these questions make sense - grammar has always been hard for me when studying languages.
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Re: Italian Possessives Question

Postby rdearman » Mon Jul 19, 2021 6:34 pm

It is because the gender of forbici is feminine (plural). E.g. le forbici. So you have to use the feminine possessive, "sue". suoi is the mascaline plural.

So because "forbici" is feminine then "sue" is the matching pronoun.

You need to be careful, just because Italian is very regular, not all masculine nouns end in O or I there are exceptions and you'll need to learn the exceptions.
Some common examples, all of these are feminine.

  • la mano / the hand
  • una foto / a photo
  • la radio / the radio
  • una moto / a motorbike
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Re: Italian Possessives Question

Postby Gordafarin2 » Tue Jul 20, 2021 8:53 am

Singular e -> plural i is a rule regardless of gender, and nouns that end in e can either be masculine or feminine, depending on the word. It tripped me up too at first. You have il cane -> i cani, but you also have la stazione -> le stazioni.. In this instance it's la forbice -> le forbici, but you probably didn't learn the singular of the word because 'scissors' is usually always plural.

The same applies for adjectives: la casa grande -> le case grandi. Having 'grandi' here doesn't mean anything masculine, it's just always the plural form of grande.
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ScoobyDooby
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Re: Italian Possessives Question

Postby ScoobyDooby » Wed Jul 21, 2021 4:16 pm

Gordafarin2 wrote:Singular e -> plural i is a rule regardless of gender, and nouns that end in e can either be masculine or feminine, depending on the word. It tripped me up too at first. You have il cane -> i cani, but you also have la stazione -> le stazioni.. In this instance it's la forbice -> le forbici, but you probably didn't learn the singular of the word because 'scissors' is usually always plural.

The same applies for adjectives: la casa grande -> le case grandi. Having 'grandi' here doesn't mean anything masculine, it's just always the plural form of grande.


This makes sense, thank you so much!
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Re: Italian Possessives Question

Postby ScoobyDooby » Wed Jul 21, 2021 4:16 pm

rdearman wrote:It is because the gender of forbici is feminine (plural). E.g. le forbici. So you have to use the feminine possessive, "sue". suoi is the mascaline plural.

So because "forbici" is feminine then "sue" is the matching pronoun.

You need to be careful, just because Italian is very regular, not all masculine nouns end in O or I there are exceptions and you'll need to learn the exceptions.
Some common examples, all of these are feminine.

  • la mano / the hand
  • una foto / a photo
  • la radio / the radio
  • una moto / a motorbike


Thank you, this is very helpful!
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Re: Italian Possessives Question

Postby dampingwire » Wed Jul 21, 2021 7:32 pm

rdearman wrote:
  • la mano / the hand
  • una foto / a photo
  • la radio / the radio
  • una moto / a motorbike


If it helps then three out of four of those are shortenings where the gender would be obvious in the full form: la fotografia, la radiofonia, la motocicletta. The last one (la mano) you'll just have to remember as an exception (or learn Latin!).
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Re: Italian Possessives Question

Postby Saim » Thu Jul 22, 2021 12:26 am

dampingwire wrote:
rdearman wrote:
  • la mano / the hand
  • una foto / a photo
  • la radio / the radio
  • una moto / a motorbike


If it helps then three out of four of those are shortenings where the gender would be obvious in the full form: la fotografia, la radiofonia, la motocicletta.


It's important to note this isn't true of all clippings: la pornografia > il porno. :)
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Re: Italian Possessives Question

Postby Querneus » Thu Jul 22, 2021 12:56 am

Saim wrote:It's important to note this isn't true of all clippings: la pornografia > il porno. :)

Interestingly, in Spanish, there is variation among speakers for this one. El ~ la porno. Some may even distinguish meanings between the masculine usage (the industry and maybe the concept) and the feminine usage (the concept, or as a mass noun for the product). A discussion among natives at WordReference.

For mysterious reasons, the DRAE doesn't seem to include the feminine-gender usage at all though.

I wonder if Italian is in any way similar.
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Re: Italian Possessives Question

Postby Saim » Thu Jul 22, 2021 4:52 am

Querneus wrote:
Saim wrote:It's important to note this isn't true of all clippings: la pornografia > il porno. :)

Interestingly, in Spanish, there is variation among speakers for this one. El ~ la porno. Some may even distinguish meanings between the masculine usage (the industry and maybe the concept) and the feminine usage (the concept, or as a mass noun for the product). A discussion among natives at WordReference.

For mysterious reasons, the DRAE doesn't seem to include the feminine-gender usage at all though.

I wonder if Italian is in any way similar.


Interesting! I haven't observed this myself in any Romance language, or maybe I just haven't been paying attention. My first exposure to this was from me using la porno in Catalan (which I arrived at through analogy with la moto, la radio, la foto), which prompted the correction el porno from natives. I do believe I've heard un porno at least from Catalan natives, but in that case I guess you could see it as a shortening of el [vídeo] porno.

This reminds me of the debate around whether it's el (virus) o la (enfermedad/malaltia) COVID.

EDIT: I don't imagine la porno would work in Italian, given that although pellicola exists the most common way of referring to movies is with the masculine film (as is the case in Portuguese and Galician with filme, as far as I'm aware -- this is not the case of Catalan, which does seem to show a preference for pel·lícula). A quick Google search gives very few results for "la porno" in Italian; the ones that do show up all seem to be weird adjectival/compound usage (so essentially English calques: "la porno star"), and I expect most of them are bad machine translations.
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Re: Italian Possessives Question

Postby tractor » Thu Jul 22, 2021 7:02 am

Querneus wrote:For mysterious reasons, the DRAE doesn't seem to include the feminine-gender usage at all though.

It says that it can be an adjective. As an adjective it can be used in the feminine, and as an adjective it can be substantivized and used as a noun.

https://dle.rae.es/porno
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