Questo and quello mean this and that. They can be either adjectives or pronouns. They are often known as demonstrative adjectives or pronouns, demonstrating whether the object referred to is near (this book) or far (that book) from the speaker.
As adjectives, questo has the forms you would expect for a four-ending adjective; quello, rather, has more forms that depend not only on the noun’s gender and number, but also on the letter with which it begins. Its forms are identical to that of bello.
As adjectives, questo and quello always go before the noun that they modify.
✽ Before singular nouns that start with a vowel, questa is often shortened to quest’ (i.e. quest’ automobile).
As pronouns, questo and quello each have four endings, the expected -o, -a, -i and -e. They are not used with nouns, but rather in place of them. For example:
- Preferisci le scarpe rosse o quelle blu? (Do you prefer the red shoes or those blue ones?)
- Non ho bisogno di altri libri. Questi qui sono sufficienti. (I don’t need other books. These here are enough.)
- Tutte le foto sono molto belle, ma quella li’ e’ favolosa! (All of these photographs are beautiful, but this one here is magnificent!)