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Absolutely Superlative!

 

We've talked recently about comparatives of equality, and so it makes sense to talk about yet another kind of comparative. We're not really comparing two or more items, but rather giving one item a very high vote.

 

In English we use words or prefixes such as "super," "very," "extra," "maximum," "mega."

 

There is a super easy way to make adjectives into absolute superlatives in Italian.

 

Daniela explains how this works:

Ripeto due volte la parola "bravo" e dico: "Lui è bravo bravo".

I repeat the word “brilliant” twice and I say, “He is brilliant brilliant.”

Captions 5-6, Corso di italiano con Daniela - Superlativo assoluto - Part 2

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There are certain adjectives we use quite frequently in this form to express an absolute superlative.

 

One is bello (beautiful, nice):

Là, a quelle, in mezzo a quelle canne ci sono due belle fagiani [fagiane] con un maschione bello bello.

There, in those, in the middle of those canes, there are two nice pheasants with a really nice big male.

Captions 70-71, Anna e Marika - Trattoria Al Biondo Tevere - Part 3

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Another is piccolo (small):

e aveva soltanto un balcone... per prendere un po' d'aria e un appartamento piccolo piccolo.

and he only had a balcony... for getting a bit of air, and a tiny, tiny apartment.

Captions 22-24, Andromeda - e i gatti 2 - Part 1

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Still another is nuovo (new):

Se si vince, si prende il primo premio. Me lo dici che premio è? Un carro armato vero, nuovo nuovo.

If we win, we'll get the first prize. Will you tell me what the prize is? A real tank, brand new.

Captions 19-21, Trailer - La vita è bella - Roberto Benigni

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There are lots of others, and you will, little by little, start noticing them as you listen to spoken Italian, where they occur most frequently.

 

Practice: 
Think of things in your everyday life, and try forming sentences with this form of the superlativo assoluto. It's fun and easy.

Here's a head start.

Il frigo è vuoto vuoto (the fridge is completely empty).
Questo pavimento è sporco sporco (this floor is very dirty).
Il disco rigido è pieno pieno (the hard drive is totally full).
Questo video era facile facile da capire (this video was super easy to understand).
Tieni il volume basso basso (keep the volume really low).

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