Sorry! Search is currently unavailable while the database is being updated, it will be back in 5 mins!

Adapting to Adatto and Adattare

This week, Arianna has her job interview for a marketing position. It turns out that her potential employer thinks she would be very suitable for the job. Ottime notizie (great news)! But the Italian word for “suitable” isn’t so easy to guess.


Be' Arianna, Lei mi sembra che sia proprio adatta a questo posto.

Well, Arianna. You seem very suitable for this position.

Caption 52, Italiano commerciale - Colloquio di lavoro

 Play Caption



So the adjective is adatto. We use it to say “suitable” as above, “fitting,” “appropriate,”  “ideal,” or “right,” also when speaking in the negative as in the following example.


Anche se, certo, non è il momento adatto.

Even though, naturally, it's not the appropriate moment.

Caption 8, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP9 - Morte in paradiso

 Play Caption


When you’re looking for the right word in Italian, you can say,

Non trovo la parola adatta.
I can’t find the right word.


Non è proprio la parola adatta, ma forse si capisce.
It’s not really the right/appropriate word, but maybe you get my meaning.


There is a verb that is a close relative: adattare. The basic meaning of this verb is “to make something become suitable.” So you can adapt something, with the transitive form ofadattare, and that something becomes adatto (suitable).


Per cui ho sempre visto fare grandi cose

So I've always seen them do great things,

adattate poi alla cucina del mercato.

adapted, subsequently, to the cuisine of the marketplace.

Caption 40, L'arte della cucina - La Prima Identitá

 Play Caption


The reflexive form takes a preposition, much like the English.

Mi sono adattata fin da subito alla cucina italiana.
adapted to Italian cuisine right away.


A verb often becomes an adjective by way of its past participle. Let's take, for example, the verb pulire (to clean). The past participle is pulito (cleaned)We can say ho pulito il bagno (I cleaned the bathroom/I've cleaned the bathroom), il bagno è stato pulito (the bathroom was cleaned), or il bagno è pulito (the bathroom is clean). In Italian, the adjective pulito (clean) is identical to the past participle pulito (cleaned), and comes from the verb.


But with adatto and adattare, it's different. It's just something to remember.


In a nutshell:

Adjective: adatto (suitable)
Verb: adattare-adattarsi (to adapt), with its regular past participle, adattato (adapted).


Just for fun:


To set the scene: You arrive in your new apartment with all your furniture from the old apartment, especially one of your favorite pieces, a bookcase.

Non è lo spazio più adatto a questa libreria. Bisognerebbe fare adattare la libreria da un falegname. Io l’avevo già adattato una volta ad uno spazio molto più irregolare di questo, ed ora, temo che non si adatterà più. Sarà meglio comprare una libreria componibile che si adatti a qualsiasi spazio.  


It’s not an ideal space for this bookcase. We would have to have the bookcase adapted by a carpenter. I had already adapted it once to a much more irregular space, and now, I’m afraid I won’t be able to adapt it ever again. It might be better to buy a modular set of shelves that adapts to any space. 



You May Also Like