L08: ADJECTIVES OF QUANTITY USED AS ADVERBS
(Gli aggettivi della quantità usati come avverbi)
As in English, adjectives of quantity – molto, tanto (many, a lot), troppo (too many), poco (few, not many), tutto (all, whole), meno (less), quanto (how many, how much) – can also be used adverbially. It is important to understand that as adjectives they must agree in number and gender with the noun, whereas as adverbs they are invariable and take just the masculine singular form. The examples below show usage of both.
C’era molta/tanta gente alla festa
There were many people at the party
La gente si è divertita molto/tanto alla festa
The people enjoyed themselves a lot at the party
Molti anni fa andavamo al mare per le vacanze
Many years ago we used to go to the seaside for our holidays
Mia madre è molto contenta ora che vive più vicino alla famiglia
My mother feels very happy now that she lives closer to the family
Tanti auguri di buon compleanno/Natale
Many good wishes for a happy birthday/Christmas
Ci sono troppe cose da fare
There are too many things to do
Presto ci siamo accorti che cercavamo di fare troppo
We soon realised we were trying to do too much
Oggigiorno sono pochi i politici onesti su cui possiamo contare
We can rely on few politicians to be honest nowadays
NOTE: When saying few, you should use poco. If you want to say a few, then you should use alcuni/alcune, since a few is a synonym of some.
Carlo parla poco ma pensa molto
Carlo speaks little but thinks a lot
Maria sta poco bene
Maria is not well. (Literally it translates as: Maria is little well, but clearly that would never be said in English.)
NOTE: This is an example of two adverbs being used together.
Siamo tutti stanchissimi
We all are very tired
Quello che dice Marco è del tutto corretto
Marco is entirely correct in what he says
Ora ho meno tempo di rilassarmi
I have less time to relax now
Col passare del tempo ci ho pensato sempre meno
I thought about it less as time went by
Poiché il livello di disoccupazione continua ad aumentare ci sono sempre meno opportunità di trovare lavoro
Because the level of unemployment continues to rise there are less and less opportunities to find work
È un segno molto triste dei tempi che si trovano sempre più persone che lavorano sempre meno
It is a very sad sign of the times that more people find that they are working less and less
Quanto tempo sei stato in Inghilterra?
(For) How long were you in England?
Quanti libri di Charles Dickens hai letto?
How many books by Charles Dickens have you read?
Non puoi immaginare quanto mi dispiaccia sentire quelle notizie della tua cara mamma
You cannot imagine how sorry I am to hear the news of your dear Mum
Susanna è tanto bella quanto intelligente
Susanna is as beautiful as she is intelligent
NOTE: Tanto…quanto is just one of many ways in which to say as…as.
Quanto as an adjective meaning how many or how much is almost always used in questions. This is not necessarily the case when using it as an adverb, for example:
Hai mai saputo quanto io abbia desiderato andare in Italia quest’anno?
Did you know (or: You did know) how much I wanted to go to Italy this year?
In other words, as an adverb it is not used to ask the question did you know. However, it can be used interrogatively, as in the following example:
Quanto piace a Susanna il suo lavoro?
How much does Susanna like her work?
Note that quanto is also used as a pronoun. For more information please see Interrogative Pronouns (Part 1).
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