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.


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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