Welcome to today’s lesson about italian adverbs in -mente!
Let’s start by a question: What is an adverb?
An adverb is a word used with verbs to give information on where, when or how an action takes place. For example: here, today, quickly. An adverb can also add information to adjectives and other adverbs: extremely quick, very quickly.
How adverbs are used
You use adverbs:
- with verbs: He’s never there (Lui non é mai lí); She smiled happily (Lei ha sorriso felicemente)
- with adjectives: She’s rather ill (Lei é piuttosto malata); I feel a lot happier (Mi sento molto piú felice)
- with other adverbs: He drives really slowly (Lui guida veramente lentamente); I am very well (Sto molto bene)
Italian adverbs are also used at the start of a sentence to give an idea of what the speaker is thinking or feeling:
Luckily, nobody was hurt (Fortunatamente, nessuno é stato ferito)
Surprisingly, he made no objection (Sorprendentemente, non ha fatto nessuna obiezione)
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How to form adverbs
1. The basics
In English you can make an adverb from the adjective slow by adding -ly. You can do a similar kind of thing with Italian adverbs.
Here are some guidelines:
- if the adjective ends in -o in the masculine, take the feminine form, ending in -a, and add -mente.
|Masculine adjective||Feminine adjective||Adverb||Meaning|
Cammina molto lentamente. He walks very slowly.
Fortunatamente non ha piovuto. Luckily, it didn’t rain.
- if the adjective ends in -e for both masculine and feminine, just add -mente.
- if the adjective ends in -le, or -re, you drop the final e before adding -mente.
Puoi farlo facilmente. You can easily do it.
Non é particolarmente buono. It’s not particularly nice.
Tip: Don’t try to make adverbs agree with anything, they always keep the same form.
2. Irregular verbs
In Italian there are two kinds of adverbs which do not behave in the way just described. They are:
- Italian adverbs which are completely different from the adjective;
- Italian adverbs which are exactly the same as the masculine adjective.
The adverb related to buono (meaning good) is bene (meaning well). The adverb related to cattivo (meaning bad) is male (meaning badly).
Parlano bene l’italiano. They speak Italian well.
Ho giocato male. I played badly.
Words such as fast and hard in english can be both adjectives and adverbs:
a fast car/you are driving too fast (una macchina veloce/ stai guidando troppo veloce)
a hard question/he works very hard (una domanda difficile/
The same kind of thing happens in Italian: some adverbs are the same as the masculine adjective. The following are the most common ones:
- chiaro (adjective: clear; adverb: clearly)
- giusto (adjective: right, correct; adverb: correctly, right)
- vicino (adjective: near, close; adverb: nearby, near here)
- diritto (adjective: straight; adverb: straight on)
- certo (adjective: sure, certain; adverb: of course)
- solo (adjective: alone, lonely; adverb: only)
- forte (adjective: strong, hard; adverb: fast hard)
- molto (adjective: a lot of; adverb: a lot, very, very much)
- poco (adjective: little, not very much; adverb: not very much, not very)
- You generally make Italian adverbs by adding -mente to adjectives.
- Italian adverbs never agree with anything.
- Some adverbs have the same form as the masculine adjective.
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