L01: WHAT ARE ADJECTIVES? (Che cosa sono gli aggettivi?)
An adjective is a word that modifies, or describes, a noun. There are several different types of adjective in Italian, just as there are in English. Examples are: descriptive, indefinite, demonstrative, possessive. In Lesson L02, however, we look at how an adjective is formed; for ease of reference that lesson is split into three parts. In Lesson L03 we explain about the position of adjectives in relation to the noun; again for ease of reference that lesson is split into two parts. We will then go on to discuss the different types of adjectives, as follows:
1. Descriptive adjectives (aggettivi qualificativi)
As you can imagine, these adverbs are used to describe a person, animal or thing. We look at a number of usages of these adjectives.
Examples: a good boy; a nice girl; a bad day; an English rose; an Italian wine.
2. Indefinite adjectives (aggettivi indefiniti)
These include forms such as: some, few, any, many, most.
Examples: some days; few people; any person; many people; most students.
3. Demonstrative adjectives (aggettivi dimostrativi)
These adjectives are this, that, these, those – questo/questa/questi/queste and quello/quella/quei/quelle.
Examples: this year; that girl; these shoes; those men.
They are closely related to demonstrative pronouns which we cover in Lesson L08 of the Pronouns section.
4. Possessive adjectives (aggettivi possessivi)
These adjectives are similar to possessive pronouns in that they comprise six grammatical persons: my, your, his/her/its, our, your (plural) and their. Do not confuse them with the possessive pronoun form mine, yours, his/hers/its, ours, yours, theirs.
Examples: my book; your pen; his car; her dress; its collar; our children; your wives; their houses.
Because there is a very full explanation of the use of possessive pronouns and adjectives Lesson L09 of the Pronoun section, we would urge you to read that lesson. It will not be repeated under Adjectives.
5. Interrogative adjectives (aggettivi interrogativi)
Because of the relationship between these adjectives and the corresponding interrogative pronouns, there is a very full description of how to use both in Lesson 11a, 11b and 11c in the Pronouns section.
6. The Comparative and Superlative forms of adjectives (Le forme comparative e superlative degli aggettivi)
The comparative form of an adjective allows us to compare two people or things. Similarly, the relative superlative form allows us to identify a person or thing out of several who is or has ‘the most’. We use the absolute superlative when comparing more than two people or things. We will not go into detail here but will provide a full explanation in the relevant lessons.
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