Bellissimo – The superlative: Italian grammar lesson 136

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issimo in Italian
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Superlativo assoluto: Explained

In the previous lessons, we have learned how to compare the qualities of objects and people. Now, we will have a look at the superlativo assoluto, which we use in Italian to indicate that an object or person has the highest degree of quality, without comparing them to anything else.

Lucia è sempre elegantissima.

Lucia is always very elegant.

Le Isole Eolie sono bellissime.

The Aeolian Islands are very beautiful.

La lingua italiana è conosciutissima!

The Italian language is very well known!

Superlative Italian 1

Superlativo assoluto: Rules

We form the superlativo assoluto:

  • By simply removing the last letter from the adjective and adding: –ISSIMO/A/I/E.
  1. bello -> bellissimo
  2. conosciuta -> conosciutissima
  3. eleganti -> elegantissimia
  4. alte -> altissime
  • By using the adjective preceded by an adverb such as: molto (very), davvero (really), decisamente (definitely), estremamente (extremely), etc.

Il russo è una lingua davvero difficile.

Russian is a really difficult language.

Siamo state estremamente fortunate a trovare questa offerta

We were extremely lucky to find his offer.

  • By adding a prefix to the adjective, without a space, such as: super-, arci-, ultra-, stra-, iper-, etc.

This structure is used in informal and spoken language.

Quel film è strabello!

That movie is super good!

Sono arcistufa dei suoi rimproveri.

I am so fed up with his reprimands.

buonissimo Italian

Superlativo assoluto: Irregular forms

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As for the superlativo relativo, some adjectives have two forms of the superlativo assoluto: have a look at the table below.

ADJECTIVE REGULAR SUPERLATIVO ASSOLUTO IRREGULAR SUPERLATIVO ASSOLUTO
BUONO BUONISSIMO OTTIMO
CATTIVO CATTIVISSIMO PESSIMO
GRANDE GRANDISSIMO MASSIMO
PICCOLO PICCOLISSIMO MINIMO

Queste lasagne sono ottime.

This lasagna is excellent.

In questo bar il caffè è pessimo.

Coffee is really bad in this café.

Superlativo assoluto Italian

Superlativo assoluto: Exceptions

Sometimes, you can’t use the comparative or superlative forms of adjectives. This happens with adjectives that do not allow a grade or level of intensity, such as:

  • Geographical or ethnical adjectives (italiano, francese, africano, etc.)
  • Adjectives that have been altered by suffixes such as –etto, –occio, –ino, -ello. (bellino, belloccio, piccoletto, piccino, etc.)
  • Adjectives that already indicate an extreme quality: straordinario (extraordinary), magnifico (wonderful), terribile (terrible), etc.

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