In origine loro erano dei contadini.

[details=“English Translation”]Originally they were farmers.[/details] I’ve just gone over a lengthy lesson about specifying someone’s profession. It said that you do not use the indefinite article. You leave it out (erano contadini) or you use “fare” with the definite article (facevano il contadino). Is this sentence in error or is “contadino” not considered a profession so much as a way of life? Or does the fact that “dei” is not officially an indefinite article mean it can be used this way with pluralized professions? (Google translates it without the article.)


Ciao @hab638 Hmm, I would certainly have left out “dei”. Aspettiamo;-)

You can omit “dei” in this case, but it is also correct to use it.

“Dei”,“degli” and “delle” are used as a plural indefinite article or as a “partitive” article. I don’t think there is exactly an equivalent in English, but you can sometime translate it as “some”.

In any case, the singular form “era un contadino” is close to how English would phrase it, right? In Italian it is still possible to use an indeterminate article there so “erano dei contadini” works.

“Facevano i contadini” is also ok (pay attention to match verb and noun number).


[details=“English Translation”]Originally they were farmers.[/details] Thank you. That clears it up for me. BTW, I took from a Collins article that, when using fare + profession, one left it in the masculine singular. Tried to confirm that elsewhere but it’s an obscure point and couldn’t find anything about it.,uno%2C%20una%20and%20un’.


I see. It is not wrong to omit the article as in the examples given, but it is common also to use the indeterminate article (Like “È un dottore”).

This article at least has some information on partitive articles in section 3:

Although it does not explicitly touches professions.