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Italian Language/use of indefinite article

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Question
Dear Maria,

I recently found the following sentence:

“Il bambino non porta una maglietta.”
The boy does not wear a t-shirt.

My question is about the indefinite article “una” that has been placed before the noun “maglietta” in this sentence.   Does this indefinite article have to be included?  Or, can the speaker also say:

“Il bambino non porta maglietta.”
The boy does not wear a t-shirt.

I was thinking that if the speaker was just being general and since he added no further specifications to “maglietta” (for example- he did not say “una maglietta rossa”) that the indefinite article need not be included.  

Since the use or non-use of the Italian indefinite article is still somewhat unclear to me, I hoped that you would not mind telling me your opinion.

Thank you very much.  I so much appreciate your help.

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich,

the indefinite article “una” that has been placed before the feminine noun “maglietta" in the sentence “Il bambino non porta una maglietta” is correct and  the speaker could not have also said:“Il bambino non porta maglietta”, which would be wrong, while he could have said  in general :“Il bambino non porta la maglietta”.

As for the fact that the speaker  has added no further specifications to “maglietta” (for example- he did not say “una maglietta rossa”), it  does not mean that  the indefinite article must  not be included.

Generally speaking, in fact, the indefinite articles “un”/una”/”uno” correspond to the English “a”/”an” , while the definite articles “il/ lo/la/i/ gli/le” correspond to the English “the”.

Anyway, we do not use the indefinite article before a noun only when we say for example:”Non abbiamo magliette”, “Non c’č pane”, “C’era pane per tutti”, “Non fu giusto acquistare armi”, where “magliette”, “pane” and “armi” are used broadly speaking, just to say that e.g. a storekeeper has no t-shirts, or there is not bread at home.

As for your doubts about the use or non-use of the Italian indefinite article, it would be helpful that you send some examples of sentences that are somewhat unclear to you, so that I can help you more.

Best regards,

Maria

Italian Language

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Maria

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Italian is my mother tongue and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning Italian Language.

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Over 25 years teaching experience.

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I received my Ph.D.in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

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