An adverb is a word that provides additional information about a verb, adjective, clause, or another adverb. In contrast to adjectives which change to agree in gender and number with the noun they describe, Italian adverbs remain invariable.
To illustrate how adverbs work, I will provide some examples. Consider the following Italian phrase where an adverb modifies a verb:(Translation: “Francesco sings well”)
(Note that the arrows point from the head word towards its dependent word)
Let's now look at an example phrase in which the adverb modifies the adjective:(Translation: “Very clear pronunciation”)
Now have a look at an Italian phrase where the adverb modifies another adverb:(Translation: “Giulio talks too fast”)
The Italian language has several different types of adverbs. We will now look at the most frequently-used adverbs in each category.
Adverbs of frequency (or “Avverbi di frequenza” as they are called in Italian) provide information about how often something occurs.
Some common examples of Italian adverbs of frequency include “sempre” (always), “spesso” (often), “di solito” (usually), “a volte” (sometimes), “raramente” (rarely), and “mai” (never).
|solitamente, di solito||usually, habitually|
|a volte||at times|
|ogni tanto||sometimes, every now and then|
Adverbs of degree (or “Avverbi di grado” as they are known in Italian) indicate the degree, level of intensity or quantity of something else.
Some common examples of Italian adverbs of degree include “molto” (very), “poco” (little), “abbastanza” (enough), “tanto” (so much), and “troppo” (too much).
|molto||a lot, much, very much|
|moltissimo||very very much|
|poco||a little, little, not much|
|soprattutto||mostly, above all|
|tanto||a lot, so much|
|un po’||a little bit|
|parecchio||quite a lot|
|leggermente||slightly, mildly, lightly|
|per niente, per nulla||at all|
|assai||very, very much|
The adverbs Molto, poco, troppo, and tanto can also be used as adjectives in Italian. When you use them as adverbs, though, remember that they are invariable, and never change their form.
Adverbs of place (or “Avverbi di luogo” as they are called in Italian) provide information about where something is, or where an action is performed.
Some common examples of Italian adverbs of place include “qui” (here), “lì” (there), “davanti” (in front), “dietro” (behind), “sopra” (on top), and “sotto” (under).
|lì, là||there, in that place|
|lontano||far away, distant|
|di fronte||in front of|
|a sinistra||on the left|
|a destra||on the right|
|da qualche parte||somewhere|
|da nessuna parte||nowhere|
|altrove||somewhere else, elsewhere|
|accanto||nearby, next to|
The adverbs “qui” and “qua” can be used interchangeably. The same goes with “lì” and “là.”
Adverbs of time (or “Avverbi di tempo” as they are called in Italian) provide information about when an action takes place.
Some common examples of Italian adverbs of time are: “ora” (now), “oggi” (today), “ieri” (yesterday), “domani” (tomorrow), “presto” (soon), and “tardi” (late). More examples are given in the table below:
|adesso||now, right now, in this instant|
|attualmente||currently, at the moment|
|intanto||in the meantime, meanwhile|
|infine||in the end, ultimately|
|finora||so far, till now|
|prima||earlier, previously, before|
|dopo||after, afterwards, later|
|poi||then, after that|
|subito||immediately, as soon as possible|
|immediatamente||immediately, right away|
|ormai||by this time|
|allora||at that time, back then|
|dopodomani||the day after tomorrow|
|l’altro ieri||the day before yesterday|
|ogni giorno||every day|
Italian, the adverb presto is spelled the same as Spanish adverb presto, but they have completely different meanings. As mentioned previously, presto means “soon” in Italian, while the same word in Spanish means “quickly.”
Adverbs of manner (or “Avverbi di modo” as they are known in Italian) provide information about how something happens.
Some common examples of Italian adverbs of manner include “bene” (well), “male” (badly), “velocemente” (quickly), “ lentamente” (slowly), “facilmente” (easily), and “difficilmente” (with difficulty).
|personalmente||personally, in person|
As can be seen in the examples given above, Italian adverbs of manner are often formed by adding the suffix “-mente” to the feminine singular form of the corresponding adjective.
Adverbs of probability are used to indicate how likely something is to happen. The table below shows some of the main adverbs of probability which are used in Italian:
|forse||perhaps, maybe, possibly|
|possibilmente||if possible, possibly|
Affirmation and negation adverbs are used to accept or refuse something, and show your approval or disapproval. Here are some of the most common Italian affirmation adverbs:
|di sicuro||for sure|
|certamente, di certo||certainly|
|davvero||really, in fact|
|senza dubbio||without a doubt, no doubt|
Let’s now move on to negation adverbs. See some examples below:
|No||no, no way|
|Né... né||neither... nor|
|Neanche, nemmeno, neppure||not even|
Interrogative adverbs introduce a question. Here they are:
|come mai||how come|
Conjunctive adverbs connect two clauses. The most frequently used Italian conjunctive adverbs are provided the table below:
|cioè||that is, that is to say|
|pure||also, as well|
|anche||also, as well, besides|
|comunque||anyway, either way, in any case|
|piuttosto||rather than, instead of, more likely|
|innanzitutto||first of all|
|insomma||in short, in conclusion|