L06: DEMONSTRATIVE ADJECTIVES (Aggettivi demostrativi)
Demonstrative adjectives are simply this, these, that, those. They are rendered in Italian as questo and quello.
Formation of quello
As an adjective, quello is formed in the same way as the definite article, including elision where appropriate, depending on the noun to which it relates, for example:
quel desiderio - that desire
quell’amica - that friend
quella ragazza - that girl
quello sbaglio - that mistake
quei ragazzi - those boys
quelle ragazze - those girls
quegli uomini - those men
Note that quello is more often than not used before a masculine singular noun beginning with an impure s (ie an s followed by another consonant) or a z. Otherwise you can simply use quel as in the above example.
Note also that the plural of quello as an adjective is quei. Quelli is the masculine plural of quello as a demonstrative pronoun (see below and Lesson L08 Correlative or Demonstrative Pronouns in the Pronouns section).
Formation of questo
Questo has just the four endings questo, questa, questi and queste. Questo and questa can also be elided where appropriate.
questo desiderio - this desire
quest’anno - this year
quest’autrice - this authoress
questa camicia - this shirt
questi problemi - these problems
queste donne - these women
Use of questo and quello as both adjective and pronoun
Questo and quello are also used as demonstrative pronouns, as explained in Lesson L08 in the Pronouns section. Whether used as an adjective or a pronoun, they agree in gender and number with the noun to which they refer. Let us look at the same examples as given in the Pronouns lesson.
Questo libro è il mio. Quello è il tuo.
This book is mine. That one is yours.
Questa lettera è per me. Quella è per te.
This letter is for me. That one is for you.
Questi dischi sono i miei. Quelli sono i tuoi.
These records are mine. Those are yours.
Queste scarpe sono di Andrea. Quelle sono le mie.
These shoes are Andrea’s. Those are mine.
Note that questo/questa/questi/queste are used as adjectives in the first sentence of each example, while quello/quella/quelli/quelle are used as pronouns in the second so as to avoid repeating the noun.
There is also codesto, which is much less used. It can be used instead of quello, for example, when asking another person for something they may have. However, it is more normal, and certainly not incorrect, to use quello.
Posso prendere in prestito codesta penna?
Can I borrow that pen?
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