ТОП 10:

AUXILIARY VERBS USED IN REFLEXIVE FORMS




When using reflexive forms with compound tenses, also transitive verbs (which would generally require verb avere) use verb essere.

sentire = to feel (sensitivity)
sentirsi = to feel (state of health or mood), or to keep in touch, to hear each other

ho sentito caldo = I heard a noise
mi sono sentito male = felt sick

You can easily notice how the first example uses verb avere (ho sentito), while the second sentence uses essere (sono sentito) because introduced by reflexive pronoun mi.

Other examples:

prendere = to take
prendersi = to have (food, drinks) or to catch (a disease)
avevano preso un martello = they had taken a hammer
si erano presi la polmonite = they had caught pneumonia

credere = to believe
credersi = to think to be
avevate creduto alle sue parole = you had believed his words
vi eravate credute ricche = you (feminine plural) had thought you were rich

 


Notice how also in these cases past participle behaves according to the general rule, by which participle is gender- and number-insensitive when following verb avere, while it has to match the subject's gender and number when following verb essere.

Since intransitive verbs cannot have a direct object, it is not possible to mistake an intransitive verb for a reflexive form (in which the subject and the object are the same person). In any case, the latter would always introduce essere by using a reflexive pronoun.

i nostri amici erano usciti = our friends had gone out
i nostri amici si erano sentiti = our friends had heard each other
i nostri amici erano tornati = our friends had returned
i nostri amici si erano allontanati = our friends had gone away

Sentence nos.1 and 3 use essere because the main verb is intransitive, while sentences nos.2 and 4 use essere because they are reflexive forms (notice the relevant pronoun si).

9.1
 
 


SUBJUNCTIVE
BASIC CONCEPTS AND PRESENT TENSE

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Subjunctive tenses are not easy to master for English speakers, simply because it is difficult to tell when these tenses are required. Subjunctive does not exist in English, with the only exception of the past tense used for the 1st singular person (if I were you).

Italian subjunctive has four tenses:

n PRESENTE (present)

n IMPERFETTO (past)

these are simple tenses, with their own inflections;

 

n PASSATO (pefect)

n TRAPASSATO (pluperfect)

these are compound tenses, respectively made of present subjunctive + past participle,
and past subjunctive + past participle.


Subjunctive expresses several concepts; therefore, it is not left as a free choice, but has to be used when required:

· uncertainty, doubt, possibility

he doubts that you are here
it is better that she returns
I'm not sure that he can make it

· whishing, hoping, thought

I thought that they might come
we hope that you may leave
they didn't imagine that he would leave

· demanding

I order that you come back
he wants you to go
(in Italian this would be "he wants that you go")

· joy, sorrow, surprise, fear

I'm happy that you phoned me
they regret that you could not come
I'm surprised that she is there

· denying

I deny that this is true
they denied that they were there
he denied that they might have come

One element in common for all these categories is that subjunctive is always used in subordinate clauses, introduced by a conjunction (more often that).

In Italian, conjunction that is translated che.
When a subordinate clause expressing any of the above mentioned concepts is introduced by che, a subjunctive tense is needed.

This conjunction has also a number of compounds, which may introduce similar clauses, each of which requiring subjunctive:

affinché = so that
I will return so that you may leave

benché = although
he left for Paris, although he had no money

perché = in order that or in order for (notice that perché may also mean why and because)
I came back in order for you to see me

purché = provided that
you can enter, provided that you wear a tie

a meno che = unless
we will leave, unless it rains

prima che = before
look at this before he comes

sebbene = although (same as benché)
although he was ill, he came here

nonostante = despite or notwithstanding (same as benché)
the day was dull, despite the sunshine


Do you think subjunctive is complicated? Don't worry, it's not only your impression: some Italians too find the use of these tenses difficult to master. For this reason, some people simply do not use subjunctive. For the same reason, the correct use of these tenses is considered the real passport of fluent Italian speakers. To use an indicative tense (or any other tense) when subjunctive is required, would not cause a misunderstanding of the sentence, but it would surely sound wrong.

Paragraphs from 9.1 to 9.4 will discuss the basic use of subjunctive, while more difficult or particular cases will be dealt with at a further stage.

Tables will show three verbs, each belonging to a different conjugation: lavare = (1st, to wash), prèndere (2nd, to take), and aprire (3rd, to open).

Although the use of subjunctive is difficult, compared to indicative tenses a semplification is that all singular persons have the same inflection.

 


CONGIUNTIVO PRESENTE
(present subjunctive)

 

    singular     plural  
      ----- 1st conjugation -----      
1st person   (che) io lavi (that) I wash   (che) laviamo (that) we wash
2nd person   (che) tu lavi (that) you wash (singular)   (che) laviate (that) you wash (plural)
3rd person   (che) egli / ella lavi (that) he/she washes   (che) lavino (that) they wash
         
      ----- 2nd conjugation -----      
1st person   (che) io prenda (that) I take   (che) prendiamo (that) we take
2nd person   (che) tu prenda (that) you take (singular)   (che) prendiate (that) you take (plural)
3rd person   (che) egli/ella prenda (that) he/she take   (che) prendano (that) they take
         
      ----- 3rd conjugation -----      
1st person   (che) io apra (that) I open   (che) apriamo (that) we open
2nd person   (che) tu apra (that) you open (singular)   (che) apriate (that) you open (plural)
3rd person   (che) egli/ ella apra (that) he/she opens   (che) aprano (that) they open

 


The third plural person has stress on the antipenultimate syllable (làvino, prèndano, àprano), in the same way as indicative tense inflections.

credo che lavino il cane spesso = I think that they wash the dog often

spero che prendiate le chiavi = I hope that you (plur.) will take the keys

voglio che tu apra la porta = I want you to open the door (literally "I want that you open the door")

sebbene prendano il treno, arrivano sempre tardi = although they take the train, they always arrive late

pensiamo che il negozio apra alle 8:00 = we think that the shop opens at 8 o'clock

spero che la banca apra prima che voi prendiate il denaro da casa = I hope that the bank opens before you take the money from home

Since the three singular persons have the same inflection, personal pronouns are often used, not to mistake the person of the verb: che vada can mean that I go, that you go, or that he/she goes. The use of a personal pronoun, though, is not always compulsory, and may be omitted when the subject of the sentence is clearly understood, such as when in the same sentence a different tense referring to the same person follows the subjunctive one (this is the case of conditional sentences, dealt with in chapter 13).

9.2   SUBJUNCTIVE PAST TENSE    

The past tense of subjunctive (imperfetto) is used when the action expressed in a conditional sentence is not sure: if I came...; in the case you went...; should he call...; etc.
Since conditional sentences will be discussed in paragraph 10.1, after having introduced conditional tenses, only the part of the sentence needing subjunctive will be shown in this page.


CONGIUNTIVO IMPERFETTO
(past subjunctive)

 

    singular     plural  
             
      ----- 1st conjugation -----      
1st person   (che) io lavassi (that) I washed   (che) lavassimo (that) we washed
2nd person   (che) tu lavassi (that) you washed (sing.)   (che) lavaste (that) you washed (pl.)
3rd person   (che) egli / ella lavasse (that) he/she washed   (che) lavassero (that) they washed
           
      ----- 2nd conjugation -----      
1st person   (che) io prendessi (that) I took   (che) prendessimo (that) we took
2nd person   (che) tu prendessi (that) you took (sing.)   (che) prendeste (that) you took (pl.)
3rd person   (che) egli/ella prendesse (that) he/she took   (che) prendessero (that) they took
           
      ----- 3rd conjugation -----      
1st person   (che) io aprissi (that) I opened   (che) aprissimo (that) we opened
2nd person   (che) tu aprissi (that) you opened (sing.)   (che) apriste (that) you opened (pl.)
3rd person   (che) egli/ ella aprisse (that) he/she opened   (che) aprissero (that) they opened

 

A first consideration is that the inflection of the third singular person is not exactly as the first two, since it changes the last vowel into e.
A second observation is that also the first plural person has stress on the antipenultimate syllable (lavàssimo, prendèssimo, aprìssimo), in the same way as the third plural persons usually have.

se io lavassi il cane... = if I washed the dog...

nel caso prendeste l'autobus... = in the case you (plural) took the bus...

se aprissero la porta... = if they opened the door...


Past subjunctive is only required when the other part of the sentence uses a conditional tense. The difference will be easy to understand focusing these examples (by now, disregard the conditional inflection):

se mi incontri, ti inviterò a pranzo = if you meet me, I will invite you to lunch
(no subjunctive required: present indicative for "meet", future for "will invite")

se mi incontrassi, ti inviterei a pranzo = if you met me, I would invite you to lunch
(past subjunctive required for "met", conditional required for "would invite")


volete che io rimanga = you (plural) want me to stay (literally: "you want that I stay")
(as explained in paragraph 9.1, present indicative for "want", present subjunctive for "stay")

vorreste che io rimanessi = you would like me to stay (literally: "you would like that I stayed")
(past subjunctive required for "would like", conditional required for "stay")

Further examples will be shown in paragraph 10.1.

.3
 
 


SUBJUNCTIVE
PRESENT AND PAST OF VERBS
ESSERE AND AVERE

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These are the tables of the same subjunctive tenses discussed in the previous two paragraphs.
Take your time to learn them, since they will be required for the two compound tenses which will be discussed in the following paragraph.
Besides being auxiliary verbs, though, they may be also used alone, according to the same rules explained in paragraphs 9.1 and 9.2.



~ ESSERE ~

CONGIUNTIVO PRESENTE
(present subjunctive)

 

    singular     plural  
1st person   (che) io sia (that) I are   (che) siamo (that) we are
2nd person   (che) tu sia (that) you are (sing.)   (che) siate (that) you are (pl.)
3rd person   (che) egli / ella sia (that) he/she is   (che) siano (that) they are

 

CONGIUNTIVO IMPERFETTO
(past subjunctive)

 

    singular     plural  
1st person   (che) io fossi (that) I were   (che) fossimo (that) we were
2nd person   (che) tu fossi (that) you were (sing.)   (che) foste (that) you were (pl.)
3rd person   (che) egli / ella fosse (that) he/she were   (che) fossero (that) they were

 


~ AVERE ~

CONGIUNTIVO PRESENTE
(present subjunctive)

 

    singular     plural  
1st person   (che) io abbia (that) I have   (che) abbiamo (that) we have
2nd person   (che) tu abbia (that) you have (sing.)   (che) abbiate (that) you have (pl.)
3rd person   (che) egli / ella abbia (that) he/she has   (che) abbiano (that) they have

 

CONGIUNTIVO IMPERFETTO
(past subjunctive)

 

    singular     plural  
1st person   (che) io avessi (that) I had   (che) avessimo (that) we had
2nd person   (che) tu avessi (that) you had (sing.)   (che) aveste (that) you had (pl.)
3rd person   (che) egli / ella avesse (that) he/she had   (che) avessero (that) they had

 

A few samples of their use:

credo che tu abbia la febbre = I think that you have a fever (notice how a personal pronoun is needed in this case, because abbia may be referred to any singular person).
credevo che tu avessi la febbre = I thought that you had a fever (same as above, but in the past).

vive bene, nonostante sia povero = he lives well, despite he is poor
(notice how a personal pronoun is not really needed in this case, because the verb of the primary clause, vive, is clearly a third singular person).
viveva bene, nonostante fosse povero = he lived well, despite he was poor
(same as above, but in the past).


Past subjunctive is only required when the other part of the sentence uses a conditional tense. The difference will be easy to understand focusing these examples (by now, disregard the conditional inflection):

se mi incontri, ti inviterò a pranzo = if you meet me, I will invite you to lunch
(no subjunctive required: present indicative for "meet", future for "will invite")

se mi incontrassi, ti inviterei a pranzo = if you met me, I would invite you to lunch
(past subjunctive required for "met", conditional required for "would invite")


volete che io rimanga = you (plural) want me to stay (literally: "you want that I stay")
(as explained in paragraph 9.1, present indicative for "want", present subjunctive for "stay")

vorreste che io rimanessi = you would like me to stay (literally: "you would like that I stayed")
(past subjunctive required for "would like", conditional required for "stay")

Further examples will be shown in paragraph 9.4.

.6
 
 


SUBJUNCTIVE
PERFECT AND PLUPERFECT TENSES

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These two compound tenses express the same concepts as the simple ones, but in the past.
So, a few examples are:

"I don't know what he does", requiring a present subjunctive;
"I don't know what he did", requiring a past subjunctive;
"I don't know what he has done", requiring a perfect subjunctive;
"I don't know what he had done", requiring a pluperfect subjunctive.

Since past subjunctive is also used for subordinate clauses in conditional sentences (see paragraph 9.2), pluperfect subjunctive is used for the same kind of clause in the past:

"if you came..." requires a past subjunctive;
"if you had come..." requires a pluperfect subjunctive.

These compound tenses are made in the same way as the indicative ones (auxiliary verb + past participle of the main verb), though the two auxiliaries essere and avere use subjunctive inflections.


CONGIUNTIVO PASSATO
(perfect subjunctive)

 

    singular     plural  
             
      ----- 1st conjugation -----      
1st person   (che) io abbia lavato (that) I have washed   (che) abbiamo lavato (that) we have washed
2nd person   (che) tu abbia lavato (that) you have washed (sing.)   (che) abbiate lavato (that) you have washed (pl.)
3rd person   (che) egli / ella abbia lavato (that) he/she has washed   (che) abbiano lavato (that) they have washed
           
      ----- 2nd conjugation -----      
1st person   (che) io abbia preso (that) I have taken   (che) abbiamo preso (that) we have taken
2nd person   (che) tu abbia preso (that) you have taken (sing.)   (che) abbiate preso (that) you have taken (pl.)
3rd person   (che) egli/ella abbia preso (that) he/she has taken   (che) abbiano preso (that) they have taken
           
      ----- 3rd conjugation -----      
1st person   (che) io abbia aperto (that) I have opened   (che) abbiamo aperto (that) we have opened
2nd person   (che) tu abbia aperto (that) you have opened (sing.)   (che) abbiate aperto (that) you have opened (pl.)
3rd person   (che) egli/ ella abbia aperto (that) he/she has opened   (che) abbiano aperto (that) they have opened

 


CONGIUNTIVO TRAPASSATO
(pluperfect subjunctive)

 

    singular     plural  
             
      ----- 1st conjugation -----      
1st person   (che) io avessi lavato (that) I have washed   (che) avessimo lavato (that) we have washed
2nd person   (che) tu avessi lavato (that) you have washed (sing.)   (che) aveste lavato (that) you have washed (pl.)
3rd person   (che) egli / ella avesse lavato (that) he/she has washed   (che) avessero lavato (that) they have washed
         
      ----- 2nd conjugation -----      
1st person   (che) io avessi preso (that) I have taken   (che) avessimo preso (that) we have taken
2nd person   (che) tu avessi preso (that) you have taken (sing.)   (che) aveste preso (that) you have taken (pl.)
3rd person   (che) egli/ella avesse preso (that) he/she has taken   (che) avessero preso (that) they have taken
         
      ----- 3rd conjugation -----      
1st person   (che) io avessi aperto (that) I have opened   (che) avessimo aperto (that) we have opened
2nd person   (che) tu avessi aperto (that) you have opened (sing.)   (che) aveste aperto (that) you have opened (pl.)
3rd person   (che) egli/ ella avesse aperto (that) he/she has opened   (che) avessero aperto (that) they have opened

 

se io lavassi il cane... = if I washed the dog...

nel caso prendeste l'autobus... = in the case you (plural) took the bus...

se aprissero la porta... = if they opened the door...


Past subjunctive is only required when the other part of the sentence uses a conditional tense. The difference will be easy to understand focusing these examples (by now, disregard the conditional inflection):

se mi incontri, ti inviterò a pranzo = if you meet me, I will invite you to lunch
(no subjunctive required: present indicative for "meet", future for "will invite")

se mi incontrassi, ti inviterei a pranzo = if you met me, I would invite you to lunch
(past subjunctive required for "met", conditional required for "would invite")


volete che io rimanga = you (plural) want me to stay (literally: "you want that I stay")
(as explained in paragraph 9.1, present indicative for "want", present subjunctive for "stay")

vorreste che io rimanessi = you would like me to stay (literally: "you would like that I stayed")
(past subjunctive required for "would like", conditional required for "stay")

Further examples will be shown in paragraph 9.4.

10.1   DIMINUTIVE    

Some suffixes can be used with nouns, to indicate that they are small, large or bad.
They are all gender- and number-sensitive, so they have to match the noun's own gender and number.
This page will discuss diminutive.

Some inflections indicate that the noun is generically small, in most cases referring to its actual size, but sometimes having a more metaphoric sense (i.e. "cute", "refined", etc).

The two most common diminutive suffixes are -ino / -ina and -etto / -etta.

uccello = bird
uccellino = little bird
uccelletto = little bird

strada = road
stradina = small or narrow road
stradetta = small or narrow road

ragazzi = boys
ragazzini = small boys, children
ragazzetti = small boys, children

palle = balls
palline = small balls
pallette = small balls


Some nouns, among which the above-mentioned examples, may use both inflections. Other nouns, though, usually follow only one of the two. The other form would either sound very unusual, or even wrong, because it may have a bad sound, or sometimes it may have a different meaning.

gatto = cat
gattino = small cat, kitten
(never "gattetto", which would sound horrible)

muro = wall
muretto = small or low wall
(the form "murino" is an adjective referring to mice!)

borsa = bag
borsetta = small bag, lady's bag
(the form "borsina" is very unusual)

pezzo = piece
pezzetto = small piece
("pezzino" is very unusual)


If you are in doubt, the inflection ...etto is the most common of the two, and with few exceptions it may be used even in those cases where ...ino is preferred.


There is also a third suffix for diminutive, -ello / -ella, used with a fewer number of words.

albero = tree
alberello = small tree

asino) = donkey
asinello = small, young donkey

porzione (feminine) = portion
porzioncina = small portion

Usually, words which take -ello may not take -ino or -etto as an alternative.


 
 



When the noun's singular inflection is ...e (which may be either masculine or feminine), the suffix behaves as if the noun ended with ...o (for masculine) or ...a (for feminine):

rete (feminine) = net
retina = small or thin net

dolore (masculine) = pain
doloretto = slight pain

lume (masculine) = lamp
lumetto = small lamp

chiave (feminine) = key
chiavetta = small key


It is very important to match the noun's gender, because in some cases the other gender has a completely different meaning:

casa (feminine) = house
casetta (or casina) = little house
...BUT
casino = brothel (slang)

So gender can really make a big difference!!

Therefore, in forming diminutives, the original noun's gender should always remain unchanged:

pezzo (masculine) = piece, fragment
pezza (feminine) = cloth, fabric, rag
...therefore
pezzetto = small piece
pezzetta = small piece of cloth

 

For some nouns, diminutive forms are not made by simply adding the two suffixes, but require a lengthening of the noun's root (additional parts are shown in lighter blue).

cuore (masculine) = heart
cuoricino = small heart
(the form "cuorino" does not exist)

cane (masculine) = dog
cagnolino = little dog
(the form "canino" is the adjective referring to a dog, or the name of the canine tooth)

porzione (feminine) = portion
porzioncina = small portion

vento = wind
venticello = slight wind, breeze

There is no fixed rule for lengthening the root of the noun, when this is required, but in many cases (see previous examples) -ic- is added before the ordinary suffix.

 

 
 


 

Some nouns are actual diminutives, although they are considered as individual words because of their meaning, in which a different idea than that of "small size" may be expressed. In this case, their gender does not necessarily match.

gallo (masculine) = rooster
gallina (feminine) = chicken (i.e. "small rooster")

spazzola (feminine) = brush
spazzolino (masculine) = tooth-brush (i.e. "small brush")

pane = bread
panino = sandwich (i.e. "small bread")

carro (masculine) = chariot
carrello (masculine) = trolley
carretto (masculine) = cart

Students should be well aware of the fact that some nouns end with ...ino, ...etto, and similar inflections, without being diminutives at all. For many of these "false diminutive nouns", other words phonetically corresponding to their non-diminutive form may exist, but they often have a different gender, and their meaning is usually completely different:

pulce (feminine) = flea
pulcino (masculine) = chick

canto (masculine) = song, singing
cantina (feminine) = cellar

desto, desta = awake (adjective)
destino (masculine) = destiny, fate

casta (feminine) = social rank
castello (masculine) = castle

pasto (masculine) = meal
pastello (masculine) = crayon


For several words such as the ones above (especially with -ello) a non-diminutive form does not even exist:

pisello = pea
("piso" does not exist)

cancello = gate
("cancio" does not exist)

catino = tub
("cato" does not exist)

giardino = garden
("giardo" does not exist)


All these nouns can be misleading, so care should be taken not to misunderstand them.
However, these words too may take a real diminutive suffix, thus appearing as "double diminutives":

cancello = gate
cancelletto = small gate

catino = tub
catinella (notice the change of gender) = small tub

gallina = hen
gallinella = small hen


Very few nouns allow a real "double diminutive":

pezzo = piece
pezzetto = small piece
pezzettino = (very) small piece

boccia = flask, decanter
boccetta = small bottle or flask
boccettina = tiny bottle, vial

 

There is another diminutive suffix, -uccio / -uccia, which is used with a limited number of nouns, because rather than "small" it usually carries a meaning of "humble, poor, cheap", especially when -ino, -etto, or -ello can be also used with the same word.

vestito = dress
vestituccio = humble, cheap dress in contrast with
vestitino = small, cute dress

cavallo = horse
cavalluccio = toy horse, hobby-horse in contrast with
cavallino = young, cute horse

bottega = shop, workshop
botteguccia = humble, small shop

This suffix does not often occur in spoken language now, but it may still be found in written texts.

For an even more limited number of words, a further diminutive suffix is -uolo / -uola, which has become rather obsolete, since in most cases the common ones already discussed may be used, and are now preferred in common speech:

chiesa = church
chiesuola = small church (obsolete, but sometimes found in written texts)
chiesetta = (same as above, currently used)

laccio = boot-lace, bind
lacciuolo = small lace, or metaphorically a limitation (obsolete)
laccetto = (same as above, currently used)

donna = church
donnicciuola = trivial woman, or sissy (referred to a male person)
donnetta = (same as above, now more common than the previous form)

 
 


synopsis of diminutive suffixes

 

masculine singular feminine singular masculine plural feminine plural
-ino -ina -ini -ine
-etto -etta -etti -ette
-ello -ella -elli -elle
       
less common suffixes  
-uccio -uccia -ucci -ucce
-uolo -uola -uoli -uole

 

10.2   AUGMENTATIVE    

Augmentative indicates that the noun is large, big, great, etc., more often in the sense of "large size", but sometimes with the meaning of "important" too.
There is only one augmentative inflection: -one / -ona (plurals -oni / -one).

Notice how the masculine singular and the feminine plural are the same (-one).

 

martello (hammer) ~ martellone (big hammer)
martelli (hammers) ~ martelloni (big hammers)

piede (masculine, foot) ~ piedone (big foot)
piedi (feet) ~ piedoni (big feet)

palazzo (building) ~ palazzone (tall, large building)
palazzi (buildings) ~ palazzoni (tall, large buildings)

ruota (wheel) ~ ruotona (large wheel)
ruote (wheels) ~ ruotone (large wheels)

chiave (feminine, key) ~ chiavona (large key)
chiavi (keys) ~ chiavone (large keys)

borsa (bag, handbag) ~ borsona (large bag)
borse (bags, handbags) ~ borsone (large bags)

It is important to know the simple form of nouns (in particular whether they are masculine or feminine), otherwise it could be difficult to tell if a given augmentative is masculine singular or feminine plural.
For instance, nasone and casone sound similar, although the former is singular (from naso, nose), and the latter is plural (from case, houses).
Obviously, when augmentative is used within a sentence, the article and often the verb too will help to tell both gender and number:

il nasone = the big book (singular, masculine)
le casone = the big houses (plural, feminine)


However, since augmentative gives the noun a meaning of "big, large, huge", etc., especially in common speech the great majority of feminine nouns changes gender when this suffix is appended.
For instance:

la faccia = the face (feminine)
...BUT
il faccione = the large face (masculine)

la pistola = the gun (feminine)
...BUT
il pistolone = the big gun (masculine)

la stanza = the room (feminine)
...BUT
lo stanzone = the big room (masculine)

la pietra = the stone (feminine)
...BUT
il pietrone = the big stone, the rock (masculine)

This is only apparently confusing: in fact, the opportunity of turning almost every plural augmentative into masculin gender, helps to avoid any risk of doubt whether the noun is masculine singular or feminine plural.
The beginner student might think of this as:

 

masculine singular, -one masculine plural, -oni used as the standard augmentative feminine singular, -ona feminine plural, -one only used in limited cases


In spoken language, feminine plural augmentative changes to masculine for a cultural reason, i.e. something big, huge, tall, etc. would sound "more masculine than feminine", especially when the large size gives the word a rougher, less delicate meaning.
However, feminine plural augmentative does exist. For this reason, some nouns may have both forms, although the feminine one is less used than the masculine.

la pietra = the stone (feminine)
la pietrona = the big stone (feminine)
il pietrone = the big stone (masculine, sounds rougher, heavier, etc.)

la finestra = the window (feminine)
la finestrona = the big window (feminine)
il finestrone = the huge window (masculine, sounds wider)

la donna = the woman (feminine)
la donnona = the tall / fat lady (feminine)
il donnone = the mighty / fat lady (masculine, sounds more stout and heavy)

la corda = the string, the rope (feminine)
la cordona = the thick rope (feminine)
il cordone = the thick / braided rope (masculine, sounds thicker)

la spada = the sword (feminine)
la spadona = the big sword (feminine)
lo spadone = the big sword (masculine, sounds longer and heavier)

Virtually, any feminine noun may be turned into masculine when using augmentative.

There are also several words which were born as augmentatives, but achieved their own individual meaning, such as:

la mela = the apple (feminine)
il melone = the melon (i.e. "big apple", masculine)

la porta = the door of a room (feminine)
il portone = the entrance, the door of a building (i.e. "large door", masculine)

la tromba = the trumpet (feminine)
il trombone = the trombone (i.e. "big trumpet", masculine)

la palla = the ball (feminine)
il pallone = the balloon, or the foot-ball (i.e. "big ball", masculine)

la copia = the copy
il copione = the (printed) script of a film, a play, etc.


Finally, there are several words which only resemble augmentatives, not having any relation with the noun they seem to derive from, or not having such form at all:

matto = the madman
mattone (masculine) = the brick

canto = song, singing
cantone (masculine) = corner of a street

pista = the race track, or trail
pistone (masculine) = piston

occasione (feminine) = occasion, opportunity
canzone (feminine) = song
pressione (feminine) = pressure
carbone (masculine) = coal
stazione (feminine) = station
situazione (feminine) = situation

These words may be regarded as "false augmentatives".

10.3
 
 


PEJORATIVE

i-11-1.html i-11-1.html

Pejorative gives the noun a sense of "bad, nasty, ugly", etc.
There is only one pejorative inflection: -accio / -accia (plurals -acci / -acce).

 

tavolo (table) ~ tavolaccio (old, broken table)
errore (masculine, mistake) ~ erroraccio (bad mistake)
libri (books) ~ libracci (cheap / evil books)
vita (life) ~ vitaccia (hard life)
bicicletta (bycicle) ~ biciclettaccia (cheap bycicle)
scarpe (feminine, shoes) ~ scarpacce (horrible / worn out shoes)
roba (stuff, things) ~ robaccia (trivia / nasty stuff)
posti (places) ~ postacci (bad places)
momento (moment) ~ momentaccio (bad moment)
tempo (weather) ~ tempaccio (bad weather)

A fewer number of nouns may use pejorative than the ones which may use diminutive or augmentative.
Also in this case, beware of "false pejorative" words:

abbraccio = hug
impaccio = difficulty, straits
traccia = trace, trail

11.1   ADJECTIVES RELATED TO GEOGRAPHIC SITES    

Adjectives expressing a relation with geographic sites such as towns, regions and countries use suffixes, very similar to the English ones, with only a few differences.

It is important to notice how in Italian all adjectives referring to countries do not use a capital (uppercase) letter, as they do in English.

Also notice that when names are made of two separate words (i.e. New Zealand, South Korea, etc.), the relevant Italian adjective often merges them into one word.

 

 
 



A common standard suffix is -ano, corresponding to the English suffix -an, used in many cases (though not so frequently as in English):

Italia (Italy) >> italiano (Italian)
Roma (Rome) >> romano (roman)
Venezia (Venice) >> veneziano (venetian)
Sicilia (Sicily) >> siciliano (sicilian)
America (America) >> americano (American)
Corea del Sud (South Korea) >> sudcoreano (South Korean)
...etc. etc.

In some cases, the suffix becomes -tano (a "t" is added), and the root of the word might slightly change too:

Napoli (Naples) >> napoletano (neapolitan)
Amalfi (Amalfi, small island near Naples) >> amalfitano (from Amalfi)


Another very common suffix is -ese, often matching the same English one (but not always):

Milano (Milan) >> milanese (milanese)
Rimini (Rimini) >> riminese (from Rimini)
Calabria (Calabria region) >> calabrese (from Calabria)
Francia (France) >> francese (French)
Malta (Malta) >> maltese (Maltese)
Islanda (Iceland) >> islandese (Icelandic)
Cina (China) >> cinese (Chinese)
Giappone (Japan) >> giapponese (Japanese)
Canada (Canada) >> canadese (Canadian)
...etc. etc.

In a few cases, an "n" is added to the suffix:

Parma (Parma, northern Italian city) >> parmense (from Parma)
Stati Uniti (United States) >> statunitense (from the US)
Nicaragua (Nicaragua) >> nicaraguense (Nicaraguan)
Panama (Panama) >> panamense (Panamese)
Costa Rica (Costa Rica) >> costaricense (from Costa Rica)

Some adjectives ending with -ese slightly change the noun's root before the suffix; this happens more often than with -ano:

Svezia (Sweden) >> svedese (Swedish)
Inghilterra (England) >> inglese (English)
Scozia (Scotland) >> scozzese (Scottish)
Portogallo (Portugal) >> portoghese (Portuguese)
Nuova Zelanda (New Zealand) >> neozelandese (New Zealander)
Londra (London) >> londinese (Londoner)


Another suffix which matches English -an is -ino:

Tunisia (Tunisia) >> tunisino (Tunisian)
Marocco (Morocco) >> marocchino (Moroccan)
Argentina (Argentina) >> argentino (Argentinean)
Parigi (Paris) >> parigino (Parisian)
Ginevra (Geneve) >> ginevrino (from Geneve)


A few adjectives use suffix -eno:

Cile (Chile) >> cileno (Chilean)
Armenia (Armenia) >> armeno (Armenian)
Iraq (Iraq) >> iracheno (Iraqi)

A very similar suffix is -egno (derived from the Spanish -eño), for two adjectives referring to Central American countries:

Ecuador (Ecuador) >> ecuadoregno (Ecuadorean)
El Salvador (El Salvador) >> salvadoregno (Salvadorean)


A less common suffix is -ico, in some cases matching the English suffix -ic:

Arabia (Arabia) >> arabico, but also arabo (Arabic)
Libia (Lybia) >> libico (Lybian)
Caucasia (Caucasia) >> caucasico (caucasian)

NOTE - arabico is used for geographic names which refer to Arabia as a land (i.e. deserto arabico = Arabic desert);
arabo instead refers to language and culture (i.e. lingua araba = Arabic language; cultura araba = Arabic culture; etc.)

A few changes may occur to the root of the noun when the adjective keeps the old form from Latin:

Gran Bretagna (Great Britain) >> britannico from Latin Britannia, (British)


A particular suffix is -olo, used in a few cases:

Spagna (Spain) >> spagnolo (Spanish)
Romagna (Romagna region) >> romagnolo (from Romagna)


Another particular suffix is -iota, used in a rather limited number of cases:

Cipro (Cyprus) >> cipriota (from Cyprus)
Kenya (Kenya) >> keniota (Kenian)


For a number of adjectives, the suffix is simply -o:

Russia (Russia) >> russo (Russian)
Grecia (Greece) >> greco (Greek)
Iugoslavia (Yugoslavia) >> iugoslavo (Yugoslavian)
Argentina (Argentina) >> argentino (Argentinean)
Turchia (Turkey) >> turco (Turk)
Repubblica Ceca (Czech Republic) >> ceco (Czech, not to be confused with cieco = blind)

Also in this case the root of the noun may change:

Croazia (Croatia) >> croato (Croatian)
Slovenia (Slovenia) >> sloveno (Slovenian)


For others, the suffix is lengthened in -acco:

Polonia (Poland) >> polacco (Polish)
Slovacchia (Slovakia) >> slovacco (Slovak)


And -one is also used in a few cases:

Estonia (Poland) >> estone (Estonian)
Lapponia (Slovakia) >> lappone (Laplandic)
Lettonia (Latvia) >> lettone (Latvian)

(for the pronounciation of these adjectives, see further down).


Finally, for some countries adjectives are specific, since they use a non-standard suffix:

Lazio (Latium region) >> laziale (from Latium)
Belgio (Belgium) >> belga (Belgian)


A totally different adjective is used in the following case:
Germania (Germany) >> tedesco (German)

 

As for pronounciation, most adjectives carry stress on their antepenutimate syllable (i.e. on the first vowel of the suffix):

(-ano) italiàno; romàno; (-ese) francése; inglése; (with acute accented "e")
(-ense) statunitènse (notice how "e" turns to a grave accent)
(-ino) tunisìno; marocchìno; (-eno) cilèno; rumèno; (-egno) ecuadorègno; salvadorègno; (-olo) spagnòlo; romagnòlo; (-acco) polàcco; slovàcco;

...BUT







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