Italian adverbs: rules, examples and exercises

Italian adverbs

Today we are going to talk about Italian adverbs. First of all, it’s important to know that an adverb is a word that we use to describe a verb, an adjective, another adverb or a whole sentence (unlike adjectives which describe a noun or a pronoun). Adverbs are also invariable.

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TYPES OF ADVERBS

There are different types of adverbs, depending on the information they provide:

MANNER:

Many Italian adverbs belong to this group. These adverbs describe how an action is performed. Among the most commonly used Italian adverbs of manner are bene (well) and male (badly). Other adverbs of this type are: lentamente (slowly), velocemente (quickly), facilmente (easily), etc.

FREQUENCY:

Italian adverbs of frequency express the frequency with which something happens. Some examples are:

sempre (always)quasi sempre (almost always)spesso (often)
di solito (usually)ogni tanto (sometimes)a volte (sometimes)
mai (never)quasi mai (almost never)raramente (rarely)

TIME: 

Italian adverbs of time give information about the time at which an action takes place. For example:

ieri (yesterday)oggi (today)domani (tomorrow)
l’altro ieri (the day before yesterday)presto (soon)dopodomani (the day after tomorrow)
stamattina (this morning)stasera (tonight)stanotte (last night/tonight)
ora/adesso (now)prima (earlier)dopo (later)

PLACE:

Of course we also have adverbs of place in Italian, some of them are: qui/qua (here), / (there), fuori (outside), etc.

QUANTITY: 

Quantity adverbs modify the quality or intensity of the word they accompany. They usually answer the question “how much?”. Some examples are: più (more), meno (less), molto (much), moltissimo (very much), troppo (too much), poco (little), abbastanza (enough), etc.

OPINION: 

These adverbs are used to indicate the speaker’s viewpoint or opinion about an action, for example: probabilmente (probably), ovviamente (obviously), affatto (not at all), /no (yes/no), esattamente (exactly), etc.

INTERROGATIVE AND EXCLAMATORY ADVERBS:

These adverbs introduce questions or exclamatory sentences. Some examples are: come (how), dove (where), quando (when), quanto (how much), perché (why), etc.

HOW DO YOU FORM ITALIAN ADVERBS?

Many adverbs are derived directly from an adjective and are formed as follows: 

  • when the adjective ends in o, we use the feminine form + the suffix -mente:

È importante che Carla inizi a lavorare autonomamente (It is important for Carla to start working independently) – In this case we use the feminine form of the Italian adjective autonomo and add the suffix -mente.

  • when the adjective ends in e, we use the singular form + the suffix -mente:

Recentemente sono andata a trovare mia zia (I recently visited my aunt) – In this example we use the singular form of the Italian adjective recente and add the suffix -mente.

  • when the adjective ends in -le or -re, the final e is dropped and the suffix -mente is added.

Questo esercizio lo potrai fare facilmente (You can easily do this exercise) – In this case we remove the final -e from the Italian adjective facile and add the suffix -mente. 

Other adverbs, on the other hand, have their own independent form (ieri, abbastanza, bene,etc.).

ADVERB POSITION

Adverbs in Italian are usually placed: 

1️⃣BEFORE THE ADJECTIVE  

Italian adverbs of time

Sono abbastanza contenta (I am quite happy).

È un film molto interessante (It’s a very interesting film).

2️⃣AFTER THE VERB THEY MODIFY 

Italian adverbs of frequency  

Marta legge continuamente (Marta reads continuously).

Diego lavora molto (Diego works a lot).

3️⃣ CHANGES IN POSITION 

Italian adverbs list

When adverbs modify an entire sentence, their position can vary and they can be placed either at the beginning or at the end of the sentence. Adverbs of opinion are usually placed at the beginning of the sentence.

Finalmente sei arrivata! / Sei arrivata finalmente! (At last you have arrived!).

Probabilmente è stanco (He is probably tired).

4️⃣BETWEEN THE AUXILIARY AND THE PAST PARTICIPLE

adverbs in Italian

Some adverbs of time, quantity, and opinion are usually placed between the auxiliary and the past participle in compound tenses:

Non sono mai stata a Parigi (I have never been to Paris).

Ti ho sempre detto che dovevi studiare (I always told you that you had to study).

USE OF ADJECTIVES INSTEAD OF ADVERBS OF MANNER 

Finally, it is important to know that in Italian there are some idioms in which the masculine adjective replaces the adverb of manner. Some examples are: andare piano  (to go slowly), giocare sporco (to play dirty), parlare chiaro (to speak plainly), etc.

We hope that our lesson on Italian adverbs has helped you to understand them better.

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EXERCISES: 

Turn adjectives in brackets into adverbs ending in -mente.

  1. Gli italiani sono (storico) un popolo di navigatori. 

  1. (Difficile) riesco a rimanere sveglia dopo mezzanotte.

  1. (Strano) Marta non risponde al telefono da giorni.

  1. Gianni e Luisa sono sposati (felice) da 40 anni.

  1. (Normale) mi alzo presto la mattina.

  1. Conosco (perfetto) questo film.

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