Avverbi, Italian adverbs – Complete guide, Audio examples, Quiz

Italian adverbs are called avverbi

The avverbio, derived from the Latin “ad verbum”, next to the verb, is an invariable part of speech that is positioned alongside the verb to provide specific meaning. Similar to how adjectives modify nouns, the traditional function of adverbs is to add information to the verb and specify the meaning. This analogy becomes evident here:

  • La macchina di Mario è veloce. (aggettivo)
  • Mario guida velocemente. (avverbio)

We use Italian adverbs to add meaning to verbs, adjectives or other parts of a sentence.

According to their structure, we can talk about:

  • Avverbi semplici: we can call the “primitive”, as they don’t derive from other words. Mai, forse, bene, male. etc.
  • Avverbi composti: resulting from combination of words. Da+per+tutto = dappertutto (every + where = everywhere).
  • Avverbi derivati: coming form other words, usually adjectives, with the addition of the suffix – mente (in English -ly). Chiaro (clear) -> chiaramente (clearly).

The avverbi derivati are commonly formed by adding the suffix -mente to the feminine singular form of the adjective.

For example: lento —> lenta + mente (slowly), rapidamente (quickly), certamente (certainly) etcetera.

If the adjective ends in -le or -re, the -e is dropped before attaching -mente, as observed in the adverbs:

Facile —> facil + mente —> facilmente (easily), gentilmente (kindly), particolarmente (particularly).

Similarly, other adverbs conforming to these patterns include dolcemente (sweetly), tranquillamente (calmly), chiaramente (clearly), pazientemente (patiently), sicuramente (surely), notevolmente (remarkably) etcetera.

We can classify the Italian avverbi in 6 main groups, according to their function:

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Avverbi, Italian adverbs

Complete guide, Audio examples, Quiz


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