In Italian, in order to speak to people, there are many pronouns. Reading the following article should make it possible to understand how to use them with different people and in different contexts. You will also learn how to make a choice between the two polite forms Lei and Voi. I hope you find this article useful!

The pronomi allocutivi (allocutive pronouns) are those pronouns we use to address our interlocutors.

The word “allocutivo” is derived from the Latin àlloquor and means to talk to.

Use of allocutive pronouns

In Italian we use:

  • Tu: informal

Used with people we know well (friends, family) and people who are part of the same group (students, colleagues, etc).

– Papà, puoi darmi la paghetta? ==== Dad, can you give me my pocket money?

– Vuoi uscire stasera? ==== Do you want to go out tonight?

  • Lei and Voi: formal

Used with people older than us or with people we don’t know yet. Lei and Voi are also used at work, for example with our boss, with our clients, etc.

– Lei è un uomo affascinante. ==== You are a fascinating man

– Lei è una donna in gamba. ==== You are a smart woman

– Avete gradito il vostro pranzo, signore? ==== Have you enjoyed your lunch, sir?

– Avete gradito il vostro pranzo, signora? ==== Have you enjoyed your lunch, ma’am?

Lei o Voi?

I am sure it is very easy to understand the use of Tu, but some of you may wonder which form is the best choice: Lei or Voi.

Without a doubt, you can choose Lei. This pronoun is widespread and used throughout the peninsula, while Voi is used only in a few regions, especially in southern Italy.

Do you feel ready to read this article in Italian? You can find it here!

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