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Post by Peter »

(Gli avverbi irregolari di maniera – Il comparativo e il superlativo)

In Lesson L03 we explain about the irregular adverbs of manner – bene, male, piano, forte, etc. This Lesson explains the comparative and superlative forms of these adverbs.


Comparative: meglio - better
Superlative: benissimo, ottimamente - very well


I feel better today
Mi sento meglio oggi

Considering they did not have much opportunity to practice, the children did very well to reach the final
Tenendo conto che non hanno avuto molte possibilità di allenarsi , i bambini hanno fatto benissimo per arrivare in finale

How did you get on? Very well, thanks!!
Come sei andato? Ottimamente, grazie!!

Note that it is just as correct to answer with benissimo in the above example. However, when asked how you are and you wish to answer very well, then it is more usual to say benissimo.

Come stai, Andrea? Benissimo, grazie!


Do not forget that male is the adverbial form of both the adjectives cattivo and male.

Comparative: peggio - worse
Superlative: malissimo - worst, very badly


I feel worse today
Mi sento peggio oggi

I did very badly in my Italian exam
Ho fatto malissimo all’esame di italiano

There is a phrase meno male, which literally means less badly. However, it is used to say Good! Thank God! Thank goodness! Although it is very often used as an exclamation it can be followed by che, for example:

Meno male che nessuno era ferito
It was a good thing no-one was injured

Use of meglio and peggio as nouns

Note that meglio and peggio can also be used as nouns, taking the masculine single definite article il, as in the following examples:

I give the best of myself when I am under pressure
Do il meglio di me stesso quando sono sotto pressione

They did the best that they could under the circumstances
Hanno fatto del loro meglio date le circostanze

It has not been a good time recently, but we are now over the worst
Non è stato un buon periodo ultimamente, ma adesso il peggio è passato

The worst of it all was that there was no need to have gone to so much trouble
La cosa peggiore è che non c’era alcun bisogno di darsi tanto da fare

Adverbs that take the masculine form of the adjective


To render the comparative of these adverbs, for example piano (softly, gently), forte (fast, loudly), you use più or meno.


Because he did not want to upset Lara, Lorenzo spoke more gently
Siccome non voleva turbare Lara, Lorenzo parlò a voce più bassa

As his anger grew, so he spoke more loudly
La sua rabbia aumentò, perciò si mise a parlare a voce più alta

That person takes a great delight in speaking more loudly than anyone else
Quella person si diverte a parlare più ad alta voce di chiunque altro

I prefer Procol Harum to Metallica because they make less uproar
Preferisco i Procol Harum ai Metallica perché fanno meno fracasso quando suonano


The superlative is rendered in the same way as for regular adverbs of manner, so you have pianissimo, fortissimo

Because Margaret does not like my music I have to play it very softly
Siccome a Margherita non piace la mia musica, devo suonare pianissimo

But when she is not here I play very loudly
Ma quando non c’è lei, suono fortissimo

Adverbs that have no relationship to an adjective

There are some adverbs that do not have any corresponding adjective, or where the adverbial meaning differs to that of the adjective. Examples are:

volentieri - willingly
adagio - slowly, carefully, gently, softly
altrimenti - otherwise


Claudio willingly accepted responsibility for planting the new roses
Claudio ha accettato volentieri la responsibilità di piantare le nuove rose

Gianfranco whistled softly to himself as he studied all the documents
Gianfranco fischiettava mentre studiava tutti i documenti

I think we should finish now, otherwise we will be here all night
Penso che dovremmo finire ora, altrimenti resteremo qui tutta la notte
Last edited by calum on Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Corrections suggested by a native speaker (DT)

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