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ADJECTIVES

Adjectives tell about or describe a noun, adding more information to it.

 

AGREEMENTS (article, noun, adjective) Lesson b_3 back buttoncuore

 

Adjectives have O and A endings (e.g. "carino, carina" - singular), change in the plural (e.g. "carini, carine") and always agree with the noun to whom they refer:

 

  Masculine Feminine
Singular

un ragazzO carinO

il ragazzO carinO

una ragazzA carinA

la ragazzA carinA

Plural

i ragazzI carinI

le ragazzE carinE

 

There are also adjectives that have E endings (e.g. "importante", singular -"importanti", plural). Adjectives ending with "E" maintain the same form for feminine and masculine but they change in the plural:

 

  Masculine Feminine
Singular

un ragazzO importantE

il ragazzO importantE

una ragazzA importantE

la ragazzA importantE

Plural

i ragazzI importantI

le ragazzE importantI

 

When adjectives refer both to a feminine and masculine noun they take the plural masculine form:

  • una donna e un uomo italiani
  • le sorelle e i fratelli simpatici

Agreements help in creating the music of Italian language!

 

 

POSITION OF THE ADJECTIVES Lesson b_6 back button

 

Some adjectives always precede the noun. Those adjectives are:

  • questo/a
  • quello/a
  • numerali
    (uno, due; primo/a secondo/a...)
  • aggettivi che indicano quantità
    (poco/a, molto/a, troppo/a, altro/a...)

Some adjectives may precede or follow the noun. When they precede the noun their meaning may be more "emotional"; when they follow the noun their meaning is literal and objective. For example: "un vecchio amico" means "a long-time friend", while "un amico vecchio" means a friend who is old. Some adjectives with this "double" meaning are:

  • bello/a
  • bravo/a
  • brutto/a
  • buono/a
  • giovane
  • grande
  • lungo/a
  • nuovo/a
  • vecchio/a
  • ...

Some adjectives always follow the noun. These are adjectives indicating:

 

color (giallo, rosso, blu...)
form (freddo/a, caldo/a, basso/a, alto/a...)
nationality (italiano/a, americano/a, inglese...)
or adjectives modified by an adverb (una donna veramente simpatica, una macchina troppo costosa, un libro poco interessante)

  • questa penna blu

Two adjectives joined by the conjunction "e" follow the noun:

  • una minestra buona e calda

 

POSSESSIVE ADJECTIVES Lesson b_5 back buttoncuore

 

Possessive adjectives indicate who is doing the possession; they have the same form as possessive pronouns.

Remember that the difference between adjectives and pronouns is that adjectives go with the noun: "la mia penna" (my pen) while pronouns substitute the noun: "è mia!" (it's mine!)

 

Singular

(Possessive adjective
applied to singular nouns)

Masculine   Feminine  
mio my/mine mia  
tuo your/yours tua  
suo his/his/its sua her/hers/its
nostro our/ours nostra  
vostro your/yours vostra  
loro their/theirs loro  
Plural

(Possessive adjective
applied to plural nouns)

miei my/mine mie  
tuoi your/yours tue  
suoi his/his/its sue her/hers/its
nostri our/ours nostre  
vostri your/yours vostre  
loro their/theirs loro  

 

 

NUMBERS Lesson b_5 back button

 

Cardinal numbers indicate quantity; they are invariable. Ordinal numbers indicate a sequence; they agree (in gender and number) with the noun to whom they refer.

 

Please note: "uno" is used like the article "un, una, uno" and agrees with the noun to whom it refers: "una penna" (a pen; one pen), "un cane" (a dog; one dog). The compound numbers "ventuno, trentuno..." are invariable: "ventuno penne" or "ventun penne" (twentyone pens), "ventuno cani" or "ventun cani" (twentyone dogs).

 

Cardinal   Ordinal
uno
due
tre
quattro
cinque
sei
sette
otto
nove
dieci
undici
dodici
tredici
quattordici
quindici
sedici
diciassette
diciotto
diciannove
venti
ventuno
ventidue
ventitré
...
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
...
primo/a
secondo/a
terzo/a
quarto/a
quinto/a
sesto/a
settimo/a
ottavo/a
nono/a
decimo/a
undicesimo/a
dodicesimo/a
tredicesimo/a
quattordicesimo/a
quindicesimo/a
sedicesimo/a
diciassettesimo/a
diciottesimo/a
diciannovesimo/a
ventesimo/a
ventunesimo/a
ventiduesimo/a
ventitreesimo/a
...
trenta
trentuno
trentadue
trentatré
...
quaranta
quarantuno
quarantadue
quarantatré
...
cinquanta
sessanta
settanta
ottanta
novanta
cento
mille
duemila
diecimila
centomila
un milione
un miliardo
...
30
31
32
33
...
40
41
42
43
...
50
60
70
80
90
100
1000
2000
10.000
100.000
1.000.000
1.000.000.000
...
trentesimo/a
trentunesimo/a
trentaduesimo/a
trentatreesimo/a
...
quarantesimo/a
quarantunesimo/a
quarantaduesimo/a
quarantatreesimo/a
...
cinquantesimo/a

sessantesimo/a
settantesimo/a
ottantesimo/a
novantesimo/a
centesimo/a
millesimo/a
duemillesimo/a
decimillesimo/a
centomillesimo/a
milionesimo/a
miliardesimo/a
...

 

 

IRREGULAR ADJECTIVES Lesson b_6 back buttoncuore

 

The adjectives "questo, quello, bello, grande, buono, santo" change form as follow:

 

Singular Masculine Feminine
questo, quel, bel, gran/grande, buon, San
(used before masculine nouns starting with consonant: e.g. "libro, Carlo")
questa, quella, bella, gran/grande, buona, Santa
(used before feminine nouns starting with consonant: e.g. "donna, Teresa")
quest', quell', bell', grand'/grande, buon, Sant'
(used before masculine nouns starting with vowel: e.g. "uomo, Antonio")
quest', quell', bella/bell', grand'/grande, buon'/buona, Sant'
(used before feminine nouns starting with vowel: e.g. "automobile, Anna")
questo, quello, bello, gran/grande, buon/buono, Santo
(used before masculine nouns starting with s+ consonant: e.g. "studente, Stefano")
 
Plural questi, quei, bei, grandi, buoni, Santi
(used before masculine nouns starting with consonant: e.g. "libri, Pietro e Paolo")
queste, quelle, belle, grandi, buone, Sante
(used before feminine nouns starting with consonant and vowel: e.g. "donne, automobili, Lucia e Teresa")
questi, quegli, begli, grandi, buoni, Santi
(used before masculine nouns starting with vowel and s + consonant: e.g. "uomini, studenti, Apostoli")

 

The adjectives ending in "co/ca" and "go/ga" add "h" in the plural (masculine and feminine):

 

Singular Plural
bianco, bianca (white) bianchi, bianche
largo, larga (large) larghi, larghe
poco, poca (few, little) pochi, poche
... ...

 

Exception to this rule are the following adjectives (they add "h" only in the feminine plural):

 

Singular Plural
simpatico, simpatica (nice, pleasant) simpatici, simpatiche
antipatico, antipatica (not nice, not pleasant) antipatici, antipatiche
greco, greca (Greek) greci, greche
... ...

 

 

COMPARATIVE Lesson i_2 back buttoncuore

 

To form a comparison Italian uses "più" (more) or "meno" (less) with "di" or "che" (than); "(così) come" (as) or "(tanto) quanto" (as):

 

When to use "più...di, meno...di" When to use "più...che, meno...che"
  • in comparisons between nouns or pronouns:
    1) Pino è più simpatico di Lucignolo (Pino is nicer than Lucignolo)
    2) Lucignolo è meno simpatico di lui (Lucignolo is less nice than him)
  • with numerals and pronouns:
    1) Ci sono più di 10 studenti (there are more than 10 students)
    2) Loro lavorano meno di voi (they work less then you)
  • in comparison between nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives (qualities), that relate to the same subject:
    1) Pino è più simpatico che antipatico (Pino is more pleasant than he is unpleasant)
    2) Pino ama meno studiare che giocare (Pino loves studying less than playing)
    3) Pino ha più giocattoli che libri (Pino has more toys than books)
  • in comparison between adverbs and verbs:
    1) Preferisco camminare più lentamente che velocemente (I prefer to walk more slowly than quickly)
    2) Questa carne è più bruciata che cotta (this meat is more burned than cooked)
    3) Preferisco dormire più che mangiare (I prefer to sleep more than eat)
  • in comparison with a conjugated verb adding "quel":
    1) Lui è più furbo di quel che pensi (He is smarter than what you think)
    2) Il cantante è meno bravo di quel che sembrava (the singer is less good than what he/she seemed)
  • "Che" is required when the second word to compare is introduced by a simple preposition (in, su, per ...) or a combined preposition (negli, sulla, nel...):
    1) È più bello andare al mare che in montagna (it is nicer to go to the seaside than to the mountain)

 

"Così" and "tanto" are commonly omitted:

 

When to use "(così) come" When to use "(tanto) quanto"
  • very common in colloquial speach
    1) Sono alto come te (I am as tall as you are)
    2) Amo mangiare come giocare (I like eating as well as playing)
  • in a comparison of "quantity"
    1) Lui è tanto simpatico quanto bello (he is as pleasant as handsome)
    2) Ho tanta fame quanto te (I am as hungry as you are)
    3) Pinocchio spende tanti soldi quanti ne guadagna (Pinocchio spends as much money as he earns.) Notice that in this case "tanto" and "quanto" agree with the nouns they refer to.

 

Irregular forms. Remember that the irregular forms are used, instead of the regular ones, to emphasize professional or material qualities:

 

Adjective Comparative
buono (good) migliore; più buono
cattivo (bad) peggiore; più cattivo
grande (big) maggiore; più grande
piccolo (small) minore; più piccolo

 

 

SUPERLATIVE Lesson i_2 back buttoncuore

 

Italian has two forms of superlative:

 

Superlativo relativo Superlativo assoluto
  • formed with the definite article and "più" or "meno":
    1) Lei è la meno simpatica di tutta la scuola (she is the less pleasant in the entire school)
    2) Questo libro è il più noioso che ho letto (this is the most boring book I read)

    Important: più or meno may follow the noun, in which case the article is not repeated:
    3) Lei è la ragazza più intelligente della scuola (she is the most intelligent girl in the school)
  • formed by dropping the ending of the adjective and adding -issimo, -issima- issimi or -issime:

    1) I cantanti sono bravissimi (the singers are extremely good)

    2) Questo libro è noiosissimo (this book is extremely boring)

    3) Questa ragazza è intelligentissima (this girl is extremely intelligent)

 

Irregular forms. Remember that the irregular forms are used, instead of the regular ones, to enphasize professional or material qualities:

 

Adjective Comparative Superlative
buono (good) migliore ottimo (buonissimo/a)
cattivo (bad) peggiore pessimo (cattivissimo/a)
grande (big) maggiore massimo (grandissimo/a)
piccolo (small) minore minimo (piccolissimo)

 

 

INDEFINITE ADJECTIVES Lesson i_9 back button

 

Indefinite adjectives give a very generic or indefinite information about the noun they refer to. Here is a chart of the most used:

 

    Special notes
used only in the singular form ogni
(each)
it is invariable for masculine and feminine:
"ogni donna" (each woman); "ogni uomo" (each man)
nessuno/a
(no, any, not any)
when placed before the verb it does not use "non": "nessun bambino ha mangiato al pizza" (none of the children ate the pizza). After the verb it requires "non": "non ha mangiato la pizza nessun bambino" (none of the childern ate the pizza)
qualche
(some, a few)
it is invariable for masculine and feminine. It requires the object or subject to whom it refers to be in the singular form:
"qualche donna" (some women); "qualche uomo" (some men)
qualunque
(any, either, whichever)
it is invariable for masculine and feminine:
"qualunque donna" (any woman); "qualunque uomo" (any man)
qualsiasi
(any, either, whichever)
it is invariable for masculine and feminine:
"qualsiasi donna" (any woman); "qualsiasi uomo" (any man)
used mostly in the plural form alcuni/e
(some, a few)
it is mostly used in the plural form and it requires the object or subject to whom it refers to be in the plural form: "ho alcuni libri" (I have a few books, some books.) It may be used in the singular form only in negative sentences:
"non ho alcuna informazione" (I don't have any information)
used in the singular and plural form alcuno/a/i/e
(some, a few, no, not any)
it is used in the singular form only in negative sentences:
"non ho alcuna informazione" (I don't have any information); it is mostly used in the plural form and it requires the object or subject to whom it refers to be in the plural form: "ho alcuni libri" (I have a few books, some books)
altrettanto/a/i/e
(as much, as many)
 
altro/a/i/e
(other, different)
it may have also other meanings like: "l'altra domenica" (the past Sunday) or, used with the definite adjective, "quest'altra domenica" (this coming Sunday)
certo/a/i/e
(certain, a certain)
it is used in general in the singular form and with the article: "un certo; una certa"; when it refers to something or someone that is not known or specified: "ti ha telefonato un certo Mario"
ciascuno/a/i/e
(each)
 
diverso/a/i/e
(several, various)
 
molto/a/i/e
(many)
 
parecchio/a/chi/chie
(quite a lot of, several)
 
poco/a/chi/che
(little, few)
 
tale/i
(certain, a certain)
it is used in general with the article: "un tale; una tale"; when it refers to something or someone that is not known or specified: "ti ha telefonato un tale Mario"; "ti ha telefonato una tale Anna"
tanto/a/i/e
(a lot of, much, many)
 
troppo/a/i/e
(too much, too many)
 
tutto/a/i/e
(all)
 
vario/a/ri/rie
(various, several quite a few)