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Some – Qualche and Alcuni: Italian grammar lesson 178

How to say “some” in Italian

There are many ways to say “some” in Italian:

  • Un po’ di
    Ho un po’ di libri.

    I have some books.
  • Qualche
    Ho qualche libro.

    I have some books.
  • Alcuni/e
    Ho alcuni libri.

    I have some books.

The first one, un po’ (some, a few) is the most informal and it is mainly used in spoken Italian. It never changes its form and can be used both with singular uncountable nouns (pane – bread; acqua – water; fame – hunger; etc.) and plural countable nouns (mesi – months; alberi – trees; libri – books; etc.). You can basically use it exactly as you would use “some” in English.

  • Giovanna ha comprato un po’ di pane. 
    Giovanna bought some bread.
  • Giulio ha piantato un po’ di alberi.
    Giulio planted some trees.

Remember, when the word that follows starts with a vowel, un po’ di can sometimes become un po’ d’, especially when it is followed by an uncountable noun.

  • Vuoi un po’ d’acqua?
    Would you like some water?

qualche a few italian

“Some” in Italian: qualche

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The words qualche, alcuni and alcune also are used to talk about a small quantities of something, but they can only be used with countable nouns, which, as you probably know or guessed are nouns that can be counted! These two words are more similar to “a few” in English.

There are only a few rules to remember to be able to use qualche and alcuni/e with no problems.

Let’s have a look at them!

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Qualche always stay the same. It does not have a plural, masculine or feminine form, it’s always qualche, and it used only in the singular, even if its meaning is plural!

  • Passami qualche bicchiere.
    Pass me a few glasses.

Did you notice? The words qualche and bicchiere are in their singular forma, although we are talking about a small quantity of bicchieri (glasses).

Let’s see some more examples:

  • Non lo vedo da qualche anno.
    I haven’t seen him in a few years.
  • Hai avuto qualche problema in banca?
    Did you have some problems at the bank?

alcuni some italian

“Some” in Italian: alcuni and alcune

While qualche is always singular, alcuni (masculine) and alcune (feminine), are always used in the plural, followed by a plural noun. Just remember to use the feminine or masculine form according to the noun you are describing!

  • Alcune cose sono in saldo.
    Some things are on sale.
  • Ci sono stati alcuni problemi.
    There were some problems.
  • Alcuni alberi sono caduti a causa del temporale.
    Some trees fell due to the storm.

alcune italian some

The word alcuno/alcun/alcuna does exist in the singular form, but it is only used in negative sentences to replace nessuno/nessun/nessuna (nothing – no).

  • Non c’è alcun – Non c’è nessun problema.
    There is no problem.
  • Non è di alcuna utilità. – Non è di nessuna utilità.
    It is of no use.
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