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Post by Peter »

(Aggettivi qualificativi)

When we use an adjective to describe a person or thing, the adjective is referred to as descriptive; for example a good book, a beautiful lady, an interesting film, and so on. They are also known as qualifying adjectives, hence the Italian title aggettivi qualificativi.

While we cannot cover all adjectives, we can look at various ways in which they are used descriptively. We look at both physical and non-physical attributes. Examples of physical attributes are size, appearance, taste, composition (what something is made of) etc, whilst non-physical attributes include nationality, age, temperament. These are just some of many different ways in which we can use an adjective to describe a person, animal or thing.

In this Part 1 of this lesson we look at the physical attributes size, appearance and taste. In Part 2 we look at composition and the non-physical attributes, nationality, age, temperament.

1. Size

Such adjectives include large (grande), small (piccolo, basso), tall (alto), short (corto), thin (magro), fat (grasso), long (lungo).

un grande cane - a large dog
un piccolo sbaglio - a small error
un uomo basso - a small man
(Basso in this context means small in stature)
la signora alta - the tall lady
lunghezza corta - short length
una donna magra - a slim woman
due signore grasse - two fat ladies
un tempo lungo - a long time

2. Appearance

Adjectives used to describe appearance include nice, pretty, handsome (bello) and brutto (bad, horrible), as well as elegant (elegante), calm (tranquillo, calmo, quieto), dry (secco, arido), wet (umido, bagnato), hot (caldo), cold (freddo).

una signora elegante - an elegant lady
il mare calmo della sera - the calm evening sea (Title of a song by Andrea Bocelli)
una persona tranquilla - a calm person
una notte quieta - a calm (or still) night
vino secco - dry wine
la terra arida - arid ground (ie short of water)
tempo umido - humid weather
la gente era bagnata - the people were wet through
vento caldo - hot wind
vento freddo - cold wind

3. Taste

Here we encounter adjectives such as good (buono), bad, disgusting (cattivo), bitter (amaro), tasty (gustoso, saporito), insipid, tasteless (insipido), sweet (dolce), peppery (pepato), salty (salato).

buon cibo - good food
cattivo cibo - disgusting food
un sapore amaro - a bitter taste
le verdure sono gustose - the vegetables are tasty
il tacchino è insipido - the turkey is tasteless
vino dolce - sweet wine
questa zuppa è pepata - this soup is peppery
burro salato - salted butter

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