Bellissimo – The superlative: Italian grammar lesson 136


Get ready to amp up your Italian with the ultimate guide to the superlativo assoluto! Learn to express the highest degree of quality, from “extremely” to “super,” and even tackle those tricky irregular forms with ease.

  • Transform adjectives into their most intense form by dropping the last letter and adding –ISSIMO/A/I/E. For example, bello becomes bellissimo. It’s that simple! 😎
  • Boost your adjectives with adverbs like molto (very) or davvero (really) for a less formal but equally powerful punch. Estremamente lucky, anyone?
  • Go casual and cool by slapping a prefix like super- or iper- onto your adjectives. Talk about a strabello movie or being arcistufa of complaints!
  • Remember, some adjectives have an irregular superlativo assoluto, like buono to ottimo. Keep these special forms in your back pocket for when you need to impress.
  • Watch out for the no-go zone with adjectives that don’t play nice with comparison or intensity. Geographical names, altered adjectives, or those that are already extreme are off-limits for superlatives.

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Superlativo assoluto: Rules

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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.

Superlativo assoluto: Irregular forms

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: 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.

Practice with Quizlet

Here's a set of flashcards and quizzes to practice this grammar topic.

Superlativo assoluto: More examples

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!

What is superlativo assoluto?

The superlative form of an adjective is the one that expresses which of more than two items has the most extreme or highest degree of the quality that is expressed by the adjective.

What does superlativo relativo mean?

In Italian, the 'Superlativo Relativo' is used to describe an object or person that has the most or least amount of a particular quality in comparison to other objects or people.

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