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I remember when I was beginning to learn Italian that I frequently experienced moments of confusion over what should have been the simplest of things. Sound familiar?
One of those theoretically ‘simple’ things was the use of molto. Let’s have at look at it’s various translations, and some examples of how we use it:
1. when used as an adverb molto DOES NOT CHANGE:
molto = very: questa torta è molto buona (this cake is very good)
molto = much: sì, è buona, ma non devo mangiare molto (yes, it’s good, but I mustn’t eat much)
molto = a lot: però, mi piace molto (however, I like it a lot)
the following example uses the adverb molto twice, each one having a different meaning in English:
siamo molto stanchi perché abbiamo camminato molto (we are very tired because we walked a lot)
|un gatto molto grande = a very big cat|
2. when used as an adjective molto CHANGES ITS ENDING according to the noun it refers to:
In the following examples we’ll see how this works in practice: molto = much/many/a lot of: c’erano molte persone alla festa? (were there a lot of people at the party?), sì, ma c’erano sopratutto molti ragazzi (yes, but there were especially a lot of boys). Notice how molto becomes molte (feminine plural) when referring to persone (people) which is a feminine plural word, and molti (masculine plural) when referring to ragazzi which is a masculine plural word.
Here’s another example:
è avanzata molta pasta? (is there a lot of pasta left?) No, ma c’è molto sugo (No, but there’s a lot of sauce). In the first part of the sentence we used molta, because it refers to pasta which is feminine singular, whilst in the reply we used molto because it refers to sugo which is masculine singular
|molti gatti = a lot of cats|
Now a couple of examples in which molto is used twice in the same sentence, once as an adverb and once as an adjective:
abbiamo lavorato molto perché avevamo molte cose da finire prima di partire (we worked a lot because we had a lot of things to finish before leaving): the first molto is an adverb (a lot) so it doesn’t change. The second molte is an adjective (a lot of) which refers to cose (things), a feminine plural word, therefore it changes its ending accordingly
notice the subtle key differences in the examples above: molto (adverb) = a lot, and molto/i/a/e + adjective = a lot of
Lucia e Giovanna sono molto stanche perché hanno camminato per molti chilometri (Lucia and Giovanna are very tired because they walked for many kilometres): once again, in this example the first molto (very) is an adverb, whilst the second one, molti (many), is an adjective referring to chilometri (kilometres – masculine plural).
You can find some more examples of the use of molto in THIS BLOG
Be sure to leave a comment if you have any questions or need further clarification, va bene?