Italian Comparatives Posted by Bridgette on Sep 25, 2020 in Grammar
Ciao a tutti!
Un po’ di grammatica italiana oggi, i comparativi in italiano!
There are two types of comparatives: comparativi di uguaglianza (equality) and comparativi di disuguaglianza (inequality). Let’s take a closer look at both:
Comparativi di uguaglianza
This type of comparative is used when comparing two things with similar qualities. In English, some examples would be “my cat is as big as your cat” or “I speak as well as you.”
To make a comparativi di uguaglianza we will use tanto or così in front of the adjective and then come or quanto.
Il mio gatto è (tanto) grande quanto il tuo – My cat is as big as your cat
Io parlo (così) bene come te – I speak as well as you
*The ‘tanto’ or ‘cosi’ can be omitted, which is why they are in parentheses.
Both forms are more or less interchangeable, unless you are comparing the quantity of two nouns or the frequency of two verbs, then in this case you must use tanto – quanto. (Esempio: hai tanti compiti quanto me – you have as much homework as me.)
Comparativi di disuguaglianza
This type of comparative is used with comparatives of majority or minority (thus the inequality). In English, we would say “I am more handsome than you” or “she is richer than him.”
To make a comparativi di disuguaglianza we will use più (more) or meno (less) in front of the adjective and then che or di.
We use ‘di‘ when we compare people or things and there is one adjective and when we use a number.
Sono più bello di te – I am more handsome than you
La borsa costa meno di 200 euro – The purse costs less than 200 euros
We use ‘che‘ when there are two adjectives and one noun, two verbs and one adjective, and with a preposition before the noun.
Il libro è più buffo che noioso – The book is more funny than boring
Ballare è meno divertente che cantare – Dancing is less fun than singing
E’ più costoso a NYC che a Parigi – It is more expensive in NYC than in Paris
There are some irregular comparatives. For example, you could not say “più buono” for “better.” Let’s look at these irregular comparatives:
*migliore (adjective) meglio (adverb) – better
*peggiore (adjective) peggio (adverb) – worse
maggiore – bigger
minore – smaller
superiore – higher
inferiore – lower
*Attenzione! There is a difference between these two when in the form of an adjective (description of nouns) and an adverb (description of a verb). For example:
La mia macchina è peggiore della tua – My car is worse than yours
Parlo italiano peggio dell’inglese – I speak Italian worse than English
Il tuo cane è migliore del mio – Your dog is better than mine
Giochiamo meglio di voi – We play better than all of you
Check back next week to read about superlativi italiani (Italian superlatives)!