Comparatives and Superlatives

Posts: 3850
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 2:06 pm

Comparatives and Superlatives

Postby Roby » Thu Mar 01, 2007 10:02 pm

This was a handout that my instructor had given the
Comparatives and Superlatives


There are three degrees:


Adjective Meaning

Positive: triste sad

Comparative piu’ triste sadder
meno triste less sad

Superlative il/la* piu’ triste saddest
Il/la* meno triste the least sad

same rule applies using the plurals : I,
gli, le
the comparative and the superlative forms
of the adjectives must agree in gender and number
with the nouns they describe.

Quel bambino e’ il piu’ piccolo.
That baby is the smallest.
Le mie figlie sono le piu’simpatiche.
My daughters are the nicest.

Posts: 3850
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 2:06 pm

Postby Roby » Sat Jun 09, 2007 6:26 pm ... tives.html


There are three comparatives: di maggioranza (majority), di minoranza (minority), di uguaglianza (equality)

comparativo di maggioranza
comparativo di minoranza

you use "DI":
1.when two terms are compared with respect to one quality/action front of numbers
you use "CHE"
3.when there is one term and two qualities/actions refer to this one term front of a preposition front of an infinitive

comparativo di uguaglianza

a. (così)...come or (tanto)...quanto
(for adjective and adverbs: "così...come" and "tanto...quanto" are adverbs and there is no agreement)
b. (tanto)...quanto
(for nouns: here "tanto...quanto" are adjectives and there is agreement)
c. (tanto) quanto...
(for verbs: "(tanto)...quanto" are adverbs and there is no agreement)

così and tanto are optional and usually avoided


This is one of the easiest grammatical points in Italian ("uno dei punti grammaticali più facili dell'italiano"). The relative superlative is formed by:
the definite article (il, la, i , le) + (noun) + più/meno + adjective + di + the term in relation to which we are comparing
(it is like English, really, except that in Italian you use "di" instead of "in")


It is the equivalent of the English "very+adjective" and "adjective+est" or "most+adjective." In Italian this can be expressed in several ways:

1. by adding -issimo/a/i/e at the end of an adjective
2. by placing molto, tanto, parecchio, assai in front of the adjective
3. by using the prefix arci-, stra-, super-, ultra-
4. by using stock phrases such as ricco sfondato (filthy rich); ubriaco fradicio (very drunk); stanco morto (dead tired); bagnato fradicio (soaking wet); innamorato cotto (madly in love)...
5. by repeating the adjective or the adverb
6. some adjectives have irregular superlatives: acre/acerrimo; celebre/celeberrimo; integro/integerrimo; celebre/celeberrimo; misero/miserrimo; salubre/saluberrimo; in spoken language, however, people just avoid "-issimo" with these and use "molto, tanto, parecchio, assai."



Please refer to the ILUSS site or to your grammar book for a complete list of these. The ones you absolutely must know are the following:

the comparative of "bene" is always "meglio" (and never "più bene"--it hurts me to even write it!)

the comparative of "buono" can be "migliore" ("più buono" can also be used)

the comparative of "male" is always "peggio" (and never "più male"--again, it hurts me to even write it)

the comparative of "cattivo" can be "peggiore" ("più cattivo" can also be used)

"maggiore" is an alternative to "più grande" (più grande=bigger; maggiore=greater)

"minore" is an alternative to "più piccolo" (più piccolo=smaller; minore=lesser)

Posts: 3850
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 2:06 pm

Postby Roby » Sat Jun 09, 2007 6:31 pm

Taken from my class notes, Schuman's Outine, Master
The Basics Italian.
Superlativo relativo e Superlativo assoluto

With the superlative degree use the definite
article (il, la, I, gli, le) , followed by
“piu’” or “meno”
Gino e’il piu’ studioso della sua classe.
Gino is the most studious in his class.
Fabiola e’ la meno studiosa della classe.
Fabiola is the least studious in her class.
Quelle ragazze sono il piu’ simpatiche della
Those girls are the nicest in the family.

In superlative construction, the definite article
is not repeated if it is already in front of
the noun. (“in the” = “di” + definite article)
Elena e’ la ragazza piu’ alta della classe.
Elena is the tallest girl in the class.
Robertina e’ la ragazza meno alta della classe.
Robertina is the smallest girl in the class.

The absolute superlative expresses the highest
possible degree of quality or characteristic.
a) can be expressed with “molto”
b) by adding the suffix “-ssimo” (-ssima, -ssimi,
-ssime) to the masculine plural form of the
c) the suffix -issimo can also be added to some
adverbs after dropping the final vowel.

E’ piccolo il gardino?
Si, e’ molto piccolo
Si, e’ piccolissimo

E’ piccola la casa?
Si, molto piccola
Si, e’ piccolissima.

Sono moderne le macchine?
Si, sono molto moderne
Si, sono modernissime

Parla bene l’italiano?
Si, lo parla benissimo
Studiate molto?
Si, ma non moltissimo.

d) Adjectives: bello, grande, bianco, lungo, simpatico

Taken from my class notes, and Master The Basics
Comparativi e Superlativi irregolari

1.The adjectives buono, cattivo, grande, and piccolo
have both regular and irregular comparative and
relative superlative constructions.
a) regular and irregular are often interchangable,
although the context sometimes determines when each
should be used.
b) Comparatives: migliore/I, peggiore/I, maggiore/I,
c) Irregular superlatives: il/la migliore, il/la
peggiore, il/la maggiore, il/la minore
d) Irregular superlatives (plural): i/le migliori,
i/le peggiori, i/le maggiori, i/le minori
e) Maggiore and minore are often used in the
sense of older/oldest or younger/youngest.

Giovanni e’ cattivo, ma Gino e’ peggiore.
Chi e’ lo studente migliore della classe?
Tutti pensano di essere migliori degli altri
Queste sono le ore peggiori della giornata per il
Fabio e’ il minore di quattro fratelli.
Sara e’ la maggiore della famiglia.

f) buono-migliore

2.Buono, cattivo, grande, and piccolo have
irregular absolute superlative forms.
a) they are not always interchangeable with the
regular forms.
b) Buono- buonissimo/a, ottimo/a
Cattivo-cattivissimo/a, pessimo/a
Grande-grandissimo/a, massimo/a
Piccolo- piccolissimo/a, minimo/a

c) they must agree in gender and number.

Queste torte sono ottime.(buonissime!)
These cakes are excellent.
Quel vino e’ pessimo .(cattivissimo)
That wine is awful.
Oggi la tempertura massima e’ di 25 degrees C.
Today the maximum temperature ia 25 degrees C.
Qual e’ stata la temperatura minima di ieri.?
What was the minimum temperature yesterday?

3. The adverbs bene, male, poco, molto have
irregular forms when used in comparative
a) bene-meglio

Oggi mi sento bene. Mi sento meglio di ieri.
Today I feel fine. I feel better than yesterday.
Oggi mi sento male. Mi sento peggio di ieri.
Today I feel bad. I feel worse than yesterday.
Sara usa molto il computer. La usa piu’ di me.
Sara uses the computer a lot. She uses it more
than I do.
Tu usi poco il computer. Usi meno di me.
You do not use the computer much. You use it
less often than I do.

Posts: 3850
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 2:06 pm

Postby Roby » Sat Jun 09, 2007 6:38 pm

Taken from my class notes, Schuman's Outline, and
Master The Basics Italian.

Di maggioranza and di minoranza:

a) If two nouns are compared by one adjective use
b) If one noun and two adjectives modify the
same noun use “che”
**c) If “than what” (than that which)is needed use
“di quello che,” “di quel che,” or “di cio’ che.”
E’ piu’ intelligente di quel che crediamo.
He is more intellegent than we believe.
(quello che , cio’ che use where appropriate)
** Located in Barron’s Master the Basics Italian

Comparison of inequality of two different subjects
(adj., adv., n., or pron) or the comparative degree
use piu’…di” or “meno … di.” (more …than; less…than)

a)Giovanni e’ piu’ alto di Riccardo
Riccardo e’ meno alto di Giovanni.

b)when the second part of the comparison a
pronoun, a disjunctive form is used.
1.disjunctive pronouns : me, te, lui,
lei, noi, voi, loro
Riccardo e’ meno alto di te.

c)Michela e’ piu’ alta della professoressa
Paolo ha piu’ figli di Marco.

Comparison of cardinal numbers use piu di” or “meno
Ho visto piu’ di venti appartamenti.
I have seen more than 20 apartments
L’affitto(rent)di quest’appartamento e’ meno di 800
Euros al mese.
The rent for this appartment is less than 800
Euros a month.

Comparison of two adjectives or two nouns
pertaining to the same subject, quantity, or two
infinitive verbs, “che” is used instead of “di.”
Riccardo ha piu’ figli che figlie. Riccardo has
more sons than daughters.
Gino e’ piu’ grasso che alto.
Gino is fatter than taller.
Meglio tardi che mai.
Better late than never.
E’ piu’ facile giocare che studiare.
It is easier to play than to study.

Comparison of one thing being more than or less
than another, place the word “piu’” or “meno” before
the adjective.
Questo libro e’ piu’ caro.
This book is more expensive.
Questo libro e’ meno caro.
This book is less expensive.

a)To make a relative comparison between two
things, simply add “piu’” or “meno” before the
adjective or adverb,
Questo e’ il ristorante piu’ caro
This restaurant is the most expensive.
Questo e’ il ristorante meno caro.
This restaurant is the least expensive.

Posts: 3850
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 2:06 pm

Postby Roby » Sat Jun 09, 2007 6:40 pm

These were taken from my class notes and Schuman's

D’ Uguaglianza:

Comparisons of equality (adj. and adv.) or the
positive degree use either cosi’ …come or
tanto…quanto (tanto…quanto : as much as; cosi’
…come: as…as)
a) often cosi’ and tanto are omitted
b) subject + to be verb+ comparative+ adj.
+comparative + subj./obj.

Riccardo e’ (tanto) alto quanto Giovanni
Riccardo e’ (cosi’) alto quanto Giovanni.

c) when the second part of the comparison a
pronoun, a disjunctive form is used.
1. disjunctive pronouns : me, te, lui, lei, noi, voi,
Riccardo guida (tanto) velocemente quanto me.
Giovanni guida (cosi’) lentamente come me.

d) combining “tanto…quanto” or “cosi’ …come.”

Riccardo mangia tanto quanto Giovanni
Riccardo mangia cosi’ come Giovanni.

e) tanto …quanto is used most often.

Comparison of equality (n. and v.) are expressed
with “tanto …quanto.”
a) Riccardo mangia quanto un elefante

1.when tanto precedes the noun, it agrees with
the noun.
a)Riccardo ha tanti bambini quanto te
b) Riccardo ha tante fame quanto un lupo
2. when the quantity of two nouns is being
compared, tanto and quanto must agree with the
a)Riccardo ha tanti bambini quanto Giovanni
b)Giovanni ha tanti bambini quante bambine
** (a) tanti bambini e b) quante bambine nouns
and tanto and/or quanto must agree)

Maria e’ cosi bella come Anna
Maria e’ tanto bella quanto Anna.
Maria ha tanti libri quanto Anna
Maria ha tanti libri quante riviste

Posts: 3850
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 2:06 pm

Postby Roby » Sat Jun 09, 2007 8:39 pm

Posts: 3850
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 2:06 pm

Postby Roby » Sat Jun 09, 2007 8:53 pm

Comparative and Superlative

Comparisons are expressed as follows:

più... di / che
meno... di / che
così... come
tanto... quanto more... than
less... than
as... as
as... as

Più and meno can be used with di or che. Di is used when comparing two different things, while che is used when the comparison is between two qualities of the same thing.

Le ciliege sono più buone delle fragole. Cherries are better than strawberries.
La mela è più verde che rossa. The apple is more green than red.
Franco è così alto come me. Frank is as tall as me.

The Relative Superlative compares two or more things and expresses the greatest or the least degree. It is formed by placing the article before the comparative form of the adjective, or in front of the noun. And instead of the preposition in, di (and its contractions), is always used with the superlative.

Le mele sono la frutta meno costosa del mondo. Apples are the least expensive fruit in the world.
L'oro è il più prezioso dei metalli. Gold is the most precious metal.
Questo è il palazzo più alto di Napoli. This is the tallest building in Naples.

The Absolute Superlative expresses an extreme degree or absolute state of something without comparison. This can be expressed in several ways in Italian.

Drop the last vowel of the adjective and add -issimo, -issima, -issimi, or -issime.
Le fragole sono dolcissime. Strawberries are very sweet.

Place the words molto, troppo, or assai before the adjective.
Questa arancia è molto buona. This orange is very good.

Repeat the adjective or adverb.
Lei parla piano piano. She speaks very softly.


Posts: 3850
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 2:06 pm

Postby Roby » Sun Jun 24, 2007 6:05 am

User avatar
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:46 pm
Location: India

Postby abhijit » Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:44 pm

excellent. many doubts have been cleared now.

Return to “Miscellaneous”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest