4.10 Adverbs (Part 1) Language Lesson
4.10 Adverbs (Part 1)
Language & Culture Lessons
This lesson will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about adverbs in Italian, and likely more. Our culture section
will explore Tuscany - one of Italy's true wonders for both its natural and architectural beauty.
From Adjective to Adverb
We know that adjectives are gender and plural dependent. For the purposes of explaining how adverbs work in this
lesson, we will use the masculine singular example of the adjective.
Using only the masculine singular example is useful in the sense that it will show you that more often than not, the
adverb originates from the adjective. This will also help you to establish some familiarity and confidence in
recognizing descriptions for nouns (adjectives) and description for verbs (adverbs).
Many adverbs can be recognized by the ending -mente. In English, we recognize an adverb by its ending, which is
"ly." Look at the following list of adjectives (describing nouns) and their counterpart adverb (describing verbs).
The adjective is listed first followed by the adverb:
Male / Cattivo
Adverbs modify verbs and often stem from adjectives.
Unlike adjectives, adverbs are not gender or plural dependent.
Importantly, some of the most common adverbs used in every day speech are the ones that are the most random with
no rhyme or reason! They have to be committed to the finer recesses of memory complete with irregularities!
You will notice that meanings can sometimes change slightly between adjectives and adverbs, as they do in English.
Position and Application of Adverbs
In the following examples, the first sentence describes a noun (using an adjective). The second sentence modifies the
action (using an adverb). This will help you to become more familiar with the principles and how they are applied in
each case. You can generally expect the Italian position of adverbs to be the same as the English one.
Il treno rapido per Roma... Noi siamo arrivati a Roma
The express Rome train... We arrived in Rome quickly.
La mia pancia enorme! Mi piace mangiare enormemente. My enormous stomach! I like eating enormously.
Questo gatto cattivo! Mi ha graffiato malamente!
This nasty cat! He scratched me badly.
Questo film recente è superbo. L'hai visto recentemente? This recent film is great. Have you seen it recently?
Ho comprato una pizza piccola. Mangio molto poco.
I bought a small pizza. I eat a little.
The position of adverbs is generally after the verb, although some exceptions apply.
Other adverbs do not follow form with the -mente ending and others have exactly the same form as the adjectives! In
all these cases the adverbs are used in expressions where they don't change form. This means the adverbs are not
gender or plural dependent and their positions stay the same.
Here is a list of very common adverbs / adjectives that have the same form:
very, much, a lot
so, so much, a lot
Ho molti amici.
I have many friends. (adjective)
Questa borsa è molto cara!This bag is very expensive! (adverb)
Tuscany is famous for so many things it's difficult to know where to begin. There are several cities in Tuscany whose
buildings and squares are legally protected world heritage sites, and most recently in 2004 the region of the Val
d'Orcia has been added to this list. It's rare that an area with so much architectural wonder can also be known for
natural beauty, but this is definitely the case with Tuscany. Do you recall me talking about le sue colline dolci, i
cipressi, and i campi di girasoli? ... Can you remember what they mean?
Val d'Orcia landscape
There are countless films that focus on or are set in Tuscany - not a surprise given its incredible landscapes. Some of
the more popular ones would include A Room with a View, based on the E.M. Forster novel, The English Patient,
which won many awards, and Stealing Beauty, which may be better known over and above anything else as the film
that features an early Liv Tyler. Even though not a whole lot happens in that one, the film creates a distinctly serene
and soothing mood that I find synonymous with Tuscany itself!
If you've already been to Tuscany, you might relive some of your memories by watching these films, and you may
even recognize some of the landscape. If you've never been to Tuscany, these films may be a great way to take a
virtual tour in advance - but of course they are still no substitute for the real deal!
Bravi tutti! You've completed lesson 20. Next week, we will go over the polite phrases that can be used when you are a
guest at an Italian house, and we'll learn how to say "sorry," "excuse me," and what kind of expressions you can use
when you need to clarify a misunderstanding and register a complaint. I look forward to it!
A dopo... See you later!
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