I'm learning Italian (at the beginner level) and the teacher said that it is necessary to use pronouns with the verb "essere" in all cases. For example: Io sono, loro sono, etc.

Is it normal to build sentences without it? For example, "Sono italiana" or "Sono a casa".

  • 1
    Welcome on ItalianSE!!!
    – abarisone
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 19:12
  • 3
    As you can see from the answers, in general it is not true that pronouns are necessary with the verb essere (or any other verb). Are you sure your teacher wasn't referring to some specific kind of sentences? An example where a pronoun is required as a subject is given in egreg's answer; another one is in some subordinate clauses with the verb in the subjunctive. For instance, in a sentence such as Gianni vuole che tu sia il prossimo, if you remove tu, the sentence is at the very least ambiguous (sia is the 1st, 2nd and 3rd person form).
    – DaG
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 23:26
  • Yes, she was referring to some case when without pronouns it is difficult to understand meaning and there was reason she said "it is necessery to use pronouns". Thanks for comment!
    – Julia G
    Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 6:46

2 Answers 2


Your teacher is wrong and your examples are perfect.

The subject pronoun can be used, for emphasis or for marking distinctions: I would say

Io sono italiano, lei è catalana.

when asked about me and my fellow moderator Charo. But if asked “Di che nazionalità sei?", I'd answer

Sono italiano.

because no emphasis or distinction is necessary.

The subject pronoun is mandatory when there is no predicate (noun or adjective). For instance, a mother asks her children Chi ha mangiato le caramelle? (Who ate the candies?). The guilty party would answer Sono stato io (I did). Note the inversion (that is not done in some dialects, though).


No, it is not necessary to use personal pronouns with any verb, in particular not with the verb essere. Using a technical language we can say that Italian is a "null-subject" language.

Rather than references (any decent grammar book will give you the rules) let me give you a bunch of examples:

Sono a casa! (I'm home)

Se tutto va bene, siamo rovinati (If everything goes well, we're ruined)

Sono solo come un cane! (I'm as alone as a dog, i.e. I'm totally alone)

  • A more common terminology is “Italian is a pro-drop language”.
    – egreg
    Commented Mar 21, 2019 at 22:29
  • @egreg Thanks! I decided to go with the more specific "null-subject" which is in the same Wikipedia page (I don't remember where I heard the original expression, but I cannot seem to find it anymore, so I removed it)
    – Denis Nardin
    Commented Mar 22, 2019 at 8:40

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