Italian Adverbs

We learned about articles, nouns, adjectives, and pronouns – now we focus on Italian adverbs. Adverbs are words that are used to describe and specify a verb, an adjective, another adverb or an entire sentence. In this page we introduce and explain to you the different types of adverbs – tempo, quantità, modo, and luogo.

Avverbi | (Adverbs)

Adverbs are not too complex in Italian and they are invariable – so no need to worry about agreeing with other words in the sentence.
  • Probabilmente non ci sarò domenica – (I probably won’t be there Sunday)
  • Hai assolutamente ragione – (You are absolutely right)
They can be used in different contexts and therefore acquire different meanings.

Tempo | (Time)

Time adverbs normally answer the question – when?
  • Ieri Federico è partito dopo di me – (Yesterday Federico left after me)
  • Solitamente ceno alle 19.30 – (I usually eat dinner at 7.30pm)
Here are more common time adverbs: oggi, ieri, domani, dopo domani, presto, tardi, già, poi, normalmente, di solito, spesso, talvolta, ora, finora, subito, adesso, sempre, mai.

Quantità | (Quantity)

Quantity adverbs normally answer the question – how much?
  • Marina lavora tanto – (Marina works a lot)
  • Ieri ho dormito poco – (Yesterday I slept little)
Here are more common quantity adverbs: molto, troppo, parecchio, abbastanza, alquanto, poco, più o meno, quanto, altrettanto, piuttosto, appena, per niente, per nulla.

Modo | (Modality)

Modality adverbs normally answer the question – how?
  • Ha finito il suo esame rapidamente – (He finished the exam rapidly)
  • Ieri stavo male, oggi sto meglio – (Yesterday I was ill, today I am better)
Here are more common modality adverbs: bene, male, meglio, peggio, insieme, volentieri, apposta, di corsa, alla svelta, di fretta, ad alta voce, a bassa voce, improvvisamente, all’improvviso, seriamente, sul serio, per scherzo, casualmente, per caso, veloce, velocemente, dritto, storto, forte, così.

Luogo | (Place)

Place adverbs normally answer the question – where?
  • Io vivo qui – (I live there)
  • Il gatto è sotto il tavolo – (The cat is under the table)
Here are more common place adverbs: qua, , , dentro, fuori, sopra, davanti, di fronte, dietro, via, intorno, attorno, vicino, lontano.

Other Adverbs

On top of the time, quantity, modality and place adverbs, there are also others that can be formed from adjectives. They follow some basic rules based on the ending of the adjective they come from.

  • Adjectives ending in -O [feminine form + suffix mente]
    • Rapido -> Rapid-a-mente
      • Il tempo cambia rapid-amente – (The weather changes rapidly)
    • Chiaro -> Chiar-a-mente
      • Chiar-amente non ci siamo capiti – (Obviously we didn’t understand each other)
  • Adjectives ending in -E [singular form + the suffix mente]
    • Forte -> Fort-e-mente
      • È stato voluto fort-e-mente dal presidente – (It was wanted strongly by the president)
    • Felice -> Felic-e-mente
      • La storia si è conclusa felic-e-mente – (The story ended happily)
  • Adjectives ending in -LE and -RE [remove final -E + the suffix mente]
    • Gentile -> Gentil-mente
      • Potete gentil-mente fare largo? – (Can you kindly make room?)
    • Maggiore -> Maggior-mente
      • Lucca è la città colpita maggior-mente dalla pioggia – (Lucca is the city mostly hit by the rain)

The other types of adverbs present in the Italian language are affermative (affermazione – e.g. si certo!), doubt (dubbio – e.g. forse), negation (negazione – e.g. non), interrogative (interrogativi – e.g. perché?), esclamative (esclamativi – e.g. come!), and presentative (presentativi – e.g. ecco).

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