L10: Part 2 - The Absolute Superlative form of adjectives

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L10: Part 2 - The Absolute Superlative form of adjectives

Post by Peter »

(Le forme superlative degli aggettivi – Parte 2 – Il superlativo assoluto)

In this second Part of Lesson 10, we look at the absolute superlative form of adjectives. As is the case with adverbs, the absolute superlative adjective describes the utmost quality of a noun, often without reference to any other thing.

To render the absolute superlative we simply take the stem adjective and either add –est to the end or prefix it with very or most, as in the following examples:

wide - widest, very/most wide
pretty - prettiest, very/most pretty
careful - very/most careful
elegant - very/most elegant
pleasant - pleasantest, very/most pleasant

In Italian, the absolute superlative is formed by adding –issimo/a to the stem adjective. There are times also when you need to use molto/a before the adverb.

widest - vastissimo/a, molto/a vasto/a
prettiest - carinissimo/a, molto/a carino/a
very careful - cautissimo/a, molto/a cauto/a
very elegant - elegantissimo/a, molto/a elegante
very pleasant - piacevolissimo/a, molto/a piacevole


Non è stato uno spazio molto vasto in cui Geraldo riusciva a girare, perciò tutto il dannaggio aIla macchina
It was not a very wide space in which Gerald could turn round, hence all the damage to the car

Lorenza è una ragazza carinissima/molta carina
Lorenza is a very pretty girl

Luigi è un operaio molto cauto
Luigi is a very careful worker

Guglielmo è un uomo elegantissimo/molto elegante
William is a very elegant man

Dino e Maria sono sempre le persone molte piacevoli
Dino and Maria are always very pleasant people

Irregular adjectives - Absolute superlatives

The irregular adjectives that we covered in both Lessons 9 and the first part of this Lesson have irregular absolute superlative forms.

alto - high - supremo * - highest, very/extremely high
basso - low - minimo - lowest, very/extremely low
buono - good - ottimo - best, very/extremely good
cattivo - bad - pessimo - worst, very/extremely bad
grande - big, great - massimo - biggest, greatest, very/extremely big, great
piccolo - small - minimo - smallest, very/extremely small

* Sommo is a synonym of supremo. Also note that there is a word altissimo, which is used in relation to high-rise buildings. When it starts with a capital A – Altissimo – it refers to the Almighty God.

NOTE: Minimo can be used to mean lowest and smallest. However, infimo is a synonym that can be used to mean lowest, in the sense of very low quality, eg un film di infimo ordine (a third-rate film).

Signor Carofiglio ha un’ottima reputazione come un autore
Mr Dearson has a very good reputation as an author

Signora Verde ha provato a essere una pessima insegnante
Mrs Green has proved to be a very bad teacher

È stato solo un minimo sbaglio, ma ha creato molti problemi
It was only a very small error, but it created a lot of problems

Devi farlo con la massima cura
You must do it with the greatest care

Sono sempre le minime cose che causano le massime preoccupazioni a Giuliano
It is always the smallest things that cause Julian the greatest worries

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