Adverbs formed from adjectives: An introduction
What’s an adverb, and what’s the difference between adverbs and adjectives?
While adjectives are describing words that can modify nouns, adverbs are instead used to modify a verb. They often answer to the questions “how?”, “when?” or “where?” and provide additional information on the action of the sentence.
Many Italian adverbs are formed from adjectives. This happens in English as well: many adjectives can be transformed into adverbs by adding the suffix “-ly”, as in “sure” (adjective) → “surely” (adverb), “slow” (adjective) → “slowly” (adverb), etc. But how do we form adverbs from adjectives in Italian?
Adverbs formed from adjectives: Conjugation
Forming adverbs from adjectives in Italian is pretty straightforward. There are only three rules concerning their conjugation:
- For adjectives that end in -a/-o for their singular form:
We simply add the suffix “-mente” to the adjective feminine singular form
- lento/ f. lenta (slow – adjective) → Lentamente (slowly – adverb)
- m. certo/ certa (sure – adjective) → certamente (surely – adverb)
- m. raro/ rara (rare – adjective) → raramente (rarely – adverb)
- For adjectives that end in -e for their singular form:
We simply add the suffix “-mente” to the adjective singular form
m./f. felice (happy – adjective) → felicemente (happily – adverb)
m./f. forte (strong – adjective) → fortemente (strongly – adverb)
m./f. veloce (fast – adjective) → velocemente (fast – adverb)
- For adjectives that end with the syllable -le, -la, –re, or -ra:
We eliminate the last “e” and add the suffix “-mente”:
m./f. gentile (kind – adjective) → gentilmente (kindly – adverb)
m./f. abile (skillful – adjective) → abilmente (skillfully – adverb)
- m. leggero/ leggera (light – adjective) → leggermente (lightly – adverb)
Adverbs formed from adjectives: Rules
Where are Italian adverbs positioned inside a sentence? Let’s take a look at some examples:
- Italian adverbs usually go immediately after the verb.
Luca parla educatamente.
Luca speaks politely.
Sto mangiando lentamente perché sono quasi pieno.
I’m eating slowly because I’m almost full.
Loro vanno raramente in palestra.
They rarely go to the gym.
- When they refer to the whole meaning of a sentence, they can go at the beginning or at the end of that sentence:
Veramente, non ti stavo ascoltando.
Frankly, I wasn’t listening to you.
Chiaramente, non hai capito niente!
Clearly, you didn’t understand anything!
Faccio esercizio fisico regolarmente.
I exercise regularly.
Italian sentences using adverbs and adjectives
To practice making adverbs from adjectives, take Lesson 74 of the Italian audio course “Ripeti con me!”.
Here’s a preview: