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  3.1.1 Forms of the definite article

1)

Articles    
    singular plural
  feminine la le
  masculine il i

2) In front of a vowel la / il => l'.

That means that in front of a vowel there is no distinction between feminine and masculine in the singular forms.

l' amico = the friend (masculine)
l' amica = the friend (feminine)

3) The masculine, and only the masculine, forms have a special form if the word begins with
sp, st, ps, gn, z or y: lo (lo specchio / the mirror)

4) The masculine, and only the masculine forms, have a special form as well in plural if the word beginns with sp, st, ps, gn, z or y: gli (gli specchi / the mirrors)

5) There is no apostrophization in plural (le amiche - the friends (feminin) / gli amici - the friends (masculine)
NOT l' amiche / amici

6) The summary looks like this

Articles      
    consonant vowel sp / st / ps / gn / z / y etc.
  singular feminine la l' la
  singular masculine il l' lo
  plural feminine le le le
  plural masculine i gli gli

7) The rules 1 - 6 are also valid if in front of the noun there is an adjective.

Examples
  l' uomo (the man)
  l' unico uomo (the only man)
  lo stesso uomo (the same man)
  gli unici uomini (the only men)
  gli stessi uomini (the same men)

In the case that the adjective refers to a feminine noun the article remains la / le.

Examples
  la stessa donna (the same woman)
  le stesse donne (the same women)





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