Family members

family members

As you know, family is really important to Italians. Today we are going to have a look at how to call i parenti stretti (the immediate members of the family).

Let’s start saying that the English word parents is a false friend because in Italian parente (plural form parenti) means relative = a person who is connected with another person by blood or marriage.

The equivalent of the English my parents is i miei genitori. Italians very often just say i miei.

Some examples:

Domani vado a trovare i miei. = Tomorrow I am going to visit my parents.
I tuoi genitori vivono a Milano. = Your parents live in Rome.

Ho molti parenti. = I have many relatives.

I genitori (the parents) are formed by il padre /papà (the father) and la madre / mamma (the mother).

Be careful: il papà = the father ; il papa = the pope.

Before founding out other family names, let’s have a look at this picture:

family members


So we have il fratello (the brother) and la sorella (the sister):

Bart è il fratello di Maggie. = Bart is Maggie’s brother.
Lisa è la sorella di Maggie. = Lisa is Maggie’s sister.

Bart ha due sorelle ma non ha fratelli. = Bart has got 2 sisters but he hasn’t got any brothers.

Let’s see some sentences to talk about your brothers and sisters.

Quanti fratelli hai? =  How many brothers and sisters do you have?
Ho 2 fratelli. = I have 2 brothers.
Ho un fratello e due sorelle. = I have 1 brother and 2 sisters.

If you don’t have any brother or sister, you are figlio unico.

Luca non ha né fratelli né sorelle. Luca è figlio unico.
Luca doesn’t have any brother or sister. Luca is only child.

If you are a woman, you would say sono figlia unica = I am only child

Let’s see closer the word figlio.
We have il figlio (the son) e la figlia (the daughter). For the plural form we have i figli (the sons) and le figlie (the daughters).

Bart è il figlio di Homer. = Bart is Homer’s son.
Lisa e Maggie sono le figlie di Homer. = Lisa and Maggie are Homer’s daughters.

Quanti figli hai? = How many children have you got?
Ne ho 2, un maschio e una femmina. = I have got 2, a boy and a girl.

Then we have il nonno (the grandfather) and la nonna (the grandmother). Il nonno e la nonna sono i genitori (the parents) dei tuoi genitori. (of your parents).

La mamma di mia mamma, cioè mia nonna materna, si chiama Marta.
My mother’s mother, in other words my maternal grandmother, is called Marta.

By this logic we have:
la nonna materna e il nonno materno.
la nonna paterna e il nonno paterno.

Then, we have lo zio (the uncle) and la zia (the aunt).

Patty e Selma sono le zie di Bart, Lisa e Maggie.
Herb è lo zio di Bart, Lisa e Maggie.

Eventually, we have il nipote (both the nephew and the grandson) and la nipote (both the niece and the granddaughter).

Bart è il nipote di Patty e Selma.
Lisa è la nipote di sua nonna.

If your uncles have some children, they are your cugini.

Cugino = male cousin
Cugina = female cousin

I miei cugini sono di Roma. = My cousins are from Rome.

As final words we have il marito (the husband) and la moglie (the wife).

Homer è il marito di Marge. = Homer is Marge’s husband.
Marge è la moglie di Homer. = Marge is Homer’s wife.

Are you wondering how to use possessive adjectives? Have a look at this article!

family members

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2 Comments on Family members

  1. How do you say “sister-in-law”? Patti (and Selma) is Homer’s sister- in-law, while Homer is Patti’s (and Selma’s) brother-in-law.

    • Ciao,
      thank you for your question! Here the in-law relationships:

      sister-in-law = la cognata
      brother-in-law = il cognato

      Patti e Selma sono le cognate di Homer.
      Homer è il cognato di Patti e Selma.

      son-in-law = il genero
      daughter-in-law = la nuora

      father-in-law= il suocero
      sister-in-law = la suocera

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