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Italian Language/Use of nouns without definite articles


Dear Lauren

Could you please explain why, in the example below, the noun 'TV' has an article but 'music' does not:

Possiamo guardare la TV oppure ascoltare musica.

Is there a rule to help me determine when I can/must leave out the definite article?

Many thanks

Hi Linda,

It is necessary to use an article with TV as we are referring to a specific television - in this case, the TV in the room where the person is located. However, music is a far more general noun and cannot be pinned down to the specific 'the music' as it does not exist in a single entity but rather can be appropriated by anybody. If the word was instead 'radio', then the article would be necessary - la radio - because like the TV, the radio has a concrete location in the room that the person is in.

Hope this helps,
Kind regards,

Italian Language

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Lauren O' Hagan


Although not my mother tongue, I have spoken Italian fluently for more than 12 years so I am very confident to answer any questions about the Italian language. I am also competent in Roman Dialect if there are any questions relating to this.


MA Applied Linguistics First Class Honours in Modern Language Studies (Linguistics, Italian, Spanish) Received the top grade in the whole of UK for GCSE Italian, receiving a letter of congratulations from the Italian Consulate Completed my two-year A Level in 1 year with a grade A country. Carried out many translation jobs for a wide range of clients and topics including self-help, literature and exam papers. For personal reference, I have also translated Federico Moccia's Tre Metri Sopra Il Cielo and 2 of Francesco Totti's book.

El Pensador, University of Bristol

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