Italian Adverbs

Use these words to add more clarity to your sentences

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Adverbs (avverbi) are used to modify or clarify the meaning of a verb, an adjective, or another adverb.

The adverbs are italicized in the examples below.

  • Ho riposato tranquillamente. - I slept peacefully.

  • Quello scrittore è piuttosto famoso. - That writer is quite famous.

  • Devi parlare molto lentamente. - You have to talk very slowly.

Where do you place adverbs in Italian?

With a verb - When an adverb , it’s usually placed after the verb (italicized): Ho fatto tardi e la segreteria dell'Università era già chiusa. - I was late and the Secretary’s office at the University was already closed.

Depending on the context of the sentence, though, the adverb (italicized) can be placed elsewhere: Domani, se è una bella giornata, voglio andare nel bosco. - If it’s a nice day tomorrow, I want to go to the forest.

With a compound tense - When the verb is a , many adverbs can also be placed between the auxiliary and the participle: Veramente non ho ben capito. - I really didn’t understand well.

With an adjective - When an adverb refers to an adjective, the adverb comes before the adjective: Questo cane è molto buono. - This dog is really good.

With another adverb - When an adverb refers to another adverb, those of the adverbs of quantity (avverbi di quantità), in this case “di solito - usually,” are placed ahead of the others: La mattina, di solito, mi alzo molto presto. - Usually in the morning, I get up really early.

With a negation - The adverb of negation (avverbio di negazione non) always comes before the verb: Vorrei che tu non dimenticassi mai quello che ti ho detto. - I hope you never forget what I told you.

With a question - Interrogative adverbs (Avverbi interrogativi) introduce a direct interrogative sentence and are usually placed before the verb: Quanto costano queste banane? - How much do these bananas cost?

What kinds of adverbs are there?

Italian adverbs can be divided into four groups: semplici, composti, derivati, and locuzioni avverbiali:

Simple adverbs (Avverbi semplici) are formed from a single word:

  • Mai - Never, ever, even, possibly, really

  • Forse - Maybe, perhaps, probably

  • Bene - Good, well, fine

  • Dove - Where, anywhere, someplace

  • Più - More, several, extra

  • Qui - Here, there, where, over here

  • Assai - Very, much, extremely, quite

  • Già - Already, enough, yet, previously

Compound adverbs (avverbi composti) are formed by combining two or more different elements:

  • Almeno (al meno) - At least

  • Invero (in vero) - Indeed

  • dappertutto (da per tutto) - Everywhere

  • in fatti (in fatti) - In fact

  • perfino (per fino) - Even

Locution adverbs (locuzioni avverbiali) are phrases arranged in a fixed order:

  • All'improvviso - Suddenly

  • Di frequente - Often

  • Per di qua - This way

  • Pressappoco - Roughly

  • Poco fa - A bit ago

  • A più non posso - As much as possible

  • D'ora in poi - From now on

These types of adverbs can often be replaced with an adverb: all'improvviso = improvvisamente; di frequente = frequentemente.

Derivative adverbs (avverbi derivati) are formed from another word, to which a suffix is added, like -mente or -oni: allegro > allegramente, ciondolare > ciondoloni).

Most adverbs are derived by adding the suffix -mente to the feminine form of the adjectives that end in -o: certa-mente, rara-mente, ultima-mente or to the singular form of those adjectives that end in -e: forte-mente, grande-mente, veloce-mente.

But if the last syllable of these adjectives is -le or -re the final e is eliminated: general-mente, celer-mente.

Special forms include:

  • benevolmente (instead of benevola-mente)

  • ridicolmente (instead of ridicola-mente)

  • leggermente (instead of leggera-mente)

  • violentemente (instead of violenta-mente)

  • parimenti (instead of pari-mente)

  • altrimenti (instead of altra-mente)

The forms ridicolamente, parimente, altramente are rare or obsolete.

Other categories of adverbs:


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Your Citation
Filippo, Michael San. "Italian Adverbs." ThoughtCo, Jan. 23, 2017, Filippo, Michael San. (2017, January 23). Italian Adverbs. Retrieved from Filippo, Michael San. "Italian Adverbs." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 21, 2018).