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Tutti Quanti

Do you know how to use the word tutto, or the plurals tutti and tutte? You may have heard the term "tutti frutti" that has made its way into English, as seen in this dictionary entry. It usually describes a variety of flavors. Literally it means "all fruits."


Tutto basically means "all" and can be used both as a pronoun and as an adjective. What's tricky is that depending on what it represents, it will change its ending according to number and gender. 

Dici la stessa cosa tutte le volte (you say the same thing every time).


Ci manchi tanto, a tutti noi (we miss you alot, all of us do).


Così fan tutte (that's what they all [feminine] do). [This is the title of a Mozart opera.]


Abbiamo caricato tutte le bici in macchina (we've loaded all the bikes in the car).


Ho messo tutti i piatti nella lavastoviglie (I put all the plates in the dishwasher).


Note that after tutto, tutti, or tutte, we use the article of the noun if there is a noun.


Let's look at some of the words we can tack onto tutto/tutti/tutte to add clarity.

First, let's look at tutto quanto, tutti quanti and tutte quante.

In the example below, Alberto Angela is talking about a fact, a situation, so he uses the singular, and likewise, quanto becomes singular. Tutto quanto: "the sum of this," "all that there is."


Tutto quanto risale all'Alto Medioevo, cioè a un'epoca,

All of this dates back to the early Middle Ages, that is, to an era,

eh, in cui Longobardi e Bizantini si scontrarono.

uh, in which the Lombards and the Byzantines were in conflict.

Captions 16-17, Meraviglie - Ep. 1 - Part 10

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Let's say we are buying tomatoes. We want all the tomatoes in the crate. Pomodoro is a masculine noun. Pomodori is the plural. So we need the plural masculine tutti as a pronoun.


To make sure we get the point across that we really want all those tomatoes, we add quanti to say, not just "all" but "all of them," "all that there are," "every last one."


Here's a little dialog that could occur at the market:


Vorrei qualche pomodoro (I'd like some tomatoes).

Quanti ne vuoi? (how many [of them] would you like)?

Fammi pensare... li prenderò tutti quanti (let me think... I'll take all of them).


If you don't add "quanti" it still means basically the same thing, but quanti sends it home. If the vendor is not sure you really want all of them, he might ask, to confirm, tutti quanti(the whole lot)?


In English we have to distinguish between "everything" and "everybody." In Italian, we use the same word — tutto/tutti/tutte for things and people, but we need to pay attention to number and gender.


In the following example, tutti happens to refer to persons, not things, but what stands out is the use of quanti after tutti. As in the previous example, it's a way of emphasizing that you really mean "all":


Non fare il piccione. Ovunque sei andato,

Don't be a pigeon. Wherever you went,

è il momento di tornare. -Oh, stanno tutti quanti qua.

it's time to come back. -Hey. Everyone is here [they are all here].

Captions 49-50, Chi m'ha visto - film - Part 20

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When we're talking about two things or persons in English, we often use "both." In Italian, we still use tutti but we qualify it. If we are talking generically the default is masculine — tutti e due (both), but if the nouns or people are feminine, then it's tutte e due (both).

Quale disegno ti piace? (which design do you like)?

Tutti e due (both of them).


Quale felpa metto in valigia, quella beige o quella blu scuro? (Which sweatshirt should I put in my suitcase? The beige one or the dark blue one)?

Ci le metto tutte e due, in fin dei conti, ce spazio a sufficienza (I'll put both of them in, anyway there is enough room).

When we're talking about just two things, we can also say entrambi or entrambe (both). When using tutti e, we can tack on any quantity we want.

Quale risposta delle cinque è corretta? (which of the five answers are correct)?

Tutte e cinque sono giuste (all five of them are right).

Avete capito tutto quanto? (have you understood all of this)?




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