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Italian comparatives, superlatives (adjectives/adverbs)

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Comparative and superlative constructions are used to make comparisons between two or more terms.
 

Comparative and Superlative Adjectives

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Comparative adjectives in Italian

A comparative adjective (aggettivo comparativo) expresses a comparison between two elements.
There are three different kinds of comparatives.

  • Comparative of majority
  • Comparative of minority
  • Comparative of equality

Comparative of majority

The comparative of majority is formed according to the following structure:

 enlightenedpiù + adjective + di

Italian English
Mio fratello è più bravo di me.My brother is better than me.
Mia nonna è più vecchia di me.

My grandma is older than me.

 

Comparative of minority

The comparative of minority is formed according to the following structure:

enlightenedmeno + adjective + di

ItalianEnglish
Egli è meno ricco di Giovanni.He is less rich than Giovanni.
Anna è meno divertente di te.Anna is less fun than you.

 

Comparative of equality

The comparative of equality is formed according to the following structure:

enlightenedadjective + quanto / come

ItalianEnglish
Il mio amico è arrabbiato quanto te.My friend is as mad as you are.
Anna é alta come Maria.Anna is as tall as Maria.

 
Irregular forms of the comparative of majority

Some adjectives create their comparative forms in two ways.
Together with the analytic form (più + adjective+ di), these adjectives have the synthetic forms.
Learn them by heart.

AdjectiveComparative (analytic form)Comparative (synthetic form)
buono
(
good)
più buono 
(better)
migliore 
(better)
cattivo
(
bad)
più cattivo
(
worse)
peggiore
(worse)
grande
(
big)
più grande
(
bigger)
maggiore
(bigger)
piccolo
(
small)
più piccolo
(
smaller) 
minore
(smaller)
alto
(
high) 
più alto
(
higher)
superiore
(higher)
basso
(
low)
più basso
(
lower)
inferiore
(lower)


The construction of the sentence remains the same as regular forms.

ItalianEnglish
Andrea è migliore di Luca.Andrea is better than Luca.
La tua squadra è peggiore della mia.Your team is worse than mine.


The analytic and the synthetic form coexist. You can learn the correct usage by practising the language only.

La torta di mia nonna è più buona della mia.
My grandma's cake is better than mine.

La nostra idea è migliore della loro.
Our idea is better than theirs.


Superlative adjectives in Italian

A superlative adjective expresses the fact that somebody has a certain quality to the maximum extent.
The superlative can be either relative or absolute.

Relative superlative

The relative superlative states that someone or something has a certain quality to the maximum extent within a certain group of people or things.
It can be formed according to one of the following structures:

1. Determinate article + Più / Meno + adjective + Di (+ determinate article) / Tra / Fra + Noun
2. Determinate article + Noun + Più / Meno + adjective + Di (+ determinate article)/ Tra / Fra + Noun

Italian English
Giorgia è la più bella della classe.Giorgia is the most beautiful girl in the class.
Stefano è il meno alto tra i giocatori della squadra.Stefano is the shorter (the less tall) among the players in the team.
La spiaggia più bella della Corsica è Capo Pertusato.The most beautiful beach in Corsica is Capo Pertusato.
Roma è la città più grande d'Italia.Rome is the largest city in Italy.

 
Absolute superlative

The absolute superlative form is used to state that someone (or something) has a certain quality to the highest degree, without any term of comparison.
In general, it is formed by adding the suffix -ISSIMO to the adjective (after dropping its last vowel).

ItalianEnglish
Amo Torino, è una città bellissima.I love Turin, it's a beautiful city.
Siamo troppi, c'è pochissimo spazio.

We are too many, there's very few room.

Other ways to form the absolute superlative

The absolute superlative adjective can also be formed as follows:

  • Using an adverb (molto, davvero, realmente…) before an adjective

una casa davvero grande
a very big house

  • Repeating the same adjective twice (only in colloquial, informal language)

un libro noioso noioso
a very boring book

  • Adding a prefix (super-, arci-, iper-, extra-…) before the adjective

un gioco superdivertente
a very funny game

ItalianEnglish
Questo film è molto interessante.This film is very interesting.
Michel sta bene? É pallido pallido.Is Michel ok? He is very pale.
Amo il cioccolato extrafondente.I love extra dark chocolate.


Irregular superlative form

As the comparatives, some superlative adjectives (both relative and absolute) create their superlative forms in two ways.
Together with the analytic forms (il più + adjective+ di / suffix -ISSIMO), these adjectives also have the synthetic form.
Learn them by heart.

AdjectiveRelative superlative (analytic form)Relative superlative (synthetic form)Absolute superlative (analytic form)Absolute superlative (synthetic form)
buono
(good)
il più buono
(the best)
il migliore
(the best)
buonissimo
(very good)
ottimo
(very good)
cattivo
(bad)
il più cattivo
(the worst)
il peggiore
(the worst)
cattivissimo
(very bad)
pessimo
(very bad)
grande
(big)
il più grande
(the biggest)
il maggiore
(the biggest)
grandissimo
(very big)
massimo
(very big)
piccolo
(small)
il più piccolo
(the smallest)
il minore
(the smallest)
piccolissimo
(very small)
minimo
(very small)
alto
(high)
il più alto
(the highest)
il superiore
(the highest)
altissimo
(very high)
supremo / sommo
(very high)
basso
(low)
il più basso
(the lowest)
l'inferiore
(the lowest)
bassissimo
(very low)
infimo
(very low)


The analytic and the synthetic form coexist. You can learn the correct usage by practising the language only.

La torta di mia nonna è la più buona del mondo.
My grandma's cake is the best in the world.

La nostra idea è la migliore della classe.
Our idea is the best in the class.

Comparative and Superlative Adverbs

Comparative adverbs in Italian

A comparative adverb introduces a comparison between two elements.
There are three different kinds of comparatives.

  • Comparative of majority
  • Comparative of minority
  • Comparative of equality

Comparative of majority

The comparative of majority is formed according to the following structure:

  enlightenedPiù (more) + Adverb + Di

ItalianEnglish
Mio fratello corre più lentamente di me.

My brother runs faster than me.

Lui ha fame e mangia più velocemente degli altri.

He's hungry and he eats faster than the other students.


Comparative of minority

The comparative of minority is formed according to the following structure:

enlightenedMeno (less) + Adverb + Di

ItalianEnglish
Lui parla meno forte di Marco.

He speaks less loud than Marco.

Anna dorme meno profondamente di Chiara.

Anna sleeps less soundly than Chiara.

 

Comparative of equality

The comparative of equality is formed according to the following structure:

enlightened(Tanto) + Adverb + quanto

Italian English
Il mio amico parla lentamente quanto te.

My friend speaks as slowly as you do.

Michele scrive tanto rapidamente quanto Marco.

Michele types as quickly as Marco.

 

 

Superlative adverbs in Italian

A superlative adverb expresses a certain quality to the maximum extent.
The superlative can be either relative or absolute.

Relative superlative

The relative superlative states that someone or something has a certain quality to the maximum extent within a certain group of people or things.
It can be formed according to the following structure:

enlightened Determinate article + Più / Meno + adverb + Di (+ determinate article) / Tra / Fra

ItalianEnglish
Giorgio era quello che correva il più velocemente tra di noi.

Giorgio was the one who ran the fastest between us.

Martina leggeva il più attentamente possibile.

Martina was reading as carefully as possible.

 

 Absolute superlative

The absolute superlative form is used to state that someone (or something) has a certain quality to the highest degree, without any term of comparison.

enlightenedSuperlative adjective (feminine singular form) + mente

AdjectiveSuperlative adverb English
Forte → Fortissima →
Fortissimamente
Lui parla fortissimamente.

He speaks so loudly.

Piano → Pianissima →
Pianissimamente
Cammina pianissimamente!

Walk super slowly!

 

Irregular forms

Comparative and superlative adverbs also have some irregular forms; they must be learned by heart.

AdverbComparativeSuperlative
Bene (Good)Meglio (Better)Ottimamente Benissimo (Amazingly)
Male (Bad)Peggio (Worse)Malissimo (Terribly)
Molto (A lot)Più (More)Moltissimo (The most)
Poco (A little)Meno (Less)Pochissimo Minimamente (The littlest)

Exercises

  1. Exercise on the comparative adjectives- Fill in the blanks
  2. Exercise on irregular forms of the comparative of majority - Single choice set
  3. Exercise on the superlative adjectives - Fill in the blanks
  4. Exercise on irregular forms of the superlative - Fill in the blanks
  5. Exercise on comparative and superlative adverbs - Drag text
  6. Exercise on comparative and superlative adverbs - Single choice set
  7. Exercise on comparative and superlative adverbs - Fill in the blanks

Exercise on the comparative adjectives- Fill in the blanks


Exercise on irregular forms of the comparative of majority - Single choice set


Exercise on the superlative adjectives - Fill in the blanks


Exercise on irregular forms of the superlative - Fill in the blanks


Exercise on comparative and superlative adverbs - Drag text


Exercise on comparative and superlative adverbs - Single choice set


Exercise on comparative and superlative adverbs - Fill in the blanks


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