Easy Learning Italian

Making comparisons using adverbs - Easy Learning Grammar Italian

  • In English, there are two major ways of comparing things using an adverb.
  • To express the idea of ‘more’ or ‘less’ you either put –er on the end of the adverb, or more or less in front of it: earlier, sooner, more/less often. This way of comparing things is called the comparative.
  • To express the idea of ‘the most’ or ‘the least’ you either put –est on the end, or most or least in front of it: earliest, soonest, most/least often. This way of comparing things is called the superlative.

1  Comparatives and superlatives of adverbs

  • In Italian you make comparisons expressing the idea of ‘more’ or ‘less’ by putting più (meaning more) and meno (meaning less) in front of the adverb.
più spessomore often
più lentamentemore slowly
meno velocementeless quickly
  • You use di to say than.
Correva più forte di me.He was running faster than me.
Viene meno spesso di lui.She comes less often than he does.
Luca parla più correttamente l’inglese di me.Luca speaks English more correctly than I do.
Ha agito più prudentemente di me.She’s acted more sensibly than I have.
Loro lavorano più sodo di prima.They work harder than before.
  • In Italian you can make comparisons expressing the idea of ‘the most’ or ‘the least’ by putting più (meaning more) or meno (meaning less) in front of the adverb and by putting di tutti (meaning of all) after it.
Cammina più piano di tutti. She walks the slowest (of all).
L’ha fatto meno volentieri di tutti.He did it the least willingly.
Mia madre ci veniva più spesso di tutti.My mother came most often.
  • For more information on Adjectives see Adjectives.

2  Irregular comparatives and superlatives of adverbs

  • Some very common Italian adverbs have irregular comparatives and superlatives. Here are the commonest ones.
AdverbMeaningComparativeMeaningSuperlativeMeaning
benewellmegliobettermeglio di tuttibest (of all)
malebadlypeggioworsepeggio di tuttiworst (of all)
moltoa lotpiùmorepiù di tuttimost (of all)
poconot muchmenolessmeno di tuttileast (of all)
Loro hanno giocato meglio di noi.They played better than us.
Si sono comportati peggio del solito.They behaved worse than usual.
Ho speso più di dieci sterline.I spent more than ten pounds.
Andrea ha giocato meglio di tutti.Andrea played best of all.

3  più di…, meno di…: di più, di meno

  • These are very common phrases, meaning more and less, which are used in rather different ways.
  • You use più di and meno di to say more than and less than when comparing things where you would use than in English.
Paolo le piace più di Marco.She likes Paolo more than Marco.
Leggo meno di te.I read less than you.
Non guadagna più di me.He doesn’t earn more than I do.
Pesa meno di Luca. He weighs less than Luca.
  • If there is no than in the sentence in English use di più and di meno.
Costa di più.It costs more.
Quello mi piace di meno.I like that one less.
Ho speso di meno.I spent less.
  • di più and di meno are also used to mean most and least.
la cosa che temeva di piùthe thing she feared most
quello che mi piace di menothe one I like least
Sono quelli che guadagnano di meno.They’re the ones who earn least.
Grammar Extra!To say that something is getting better and better, worse and worse, slower and slower, and so on, use sempre with the comparative adverb.
Le cose vanno sempre meglio.Things are going better and better.
Mio nonno sta sempre peggio.My grandfather’s getting worse and worse.
Cammina sempre più lento.He’s walking slower and slower.
Key points
  • To express the idea of ‘more’ and ‘most’ with adverbs use più.
  • To express the idea of ‘less’ and ‘least’ use meno.
  • Use di to mean ‘than’.

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