Italian grammar: Indefinite adjectives in Italian

Indefinite adjectives (Aggettivi Indefiniti) in Italian

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Indefinite adjectives, in Italian, indicate an uncertain quantity or an uncertain quality of the concept expressed by the noun to which they relate.

Molte persone amano lo sport (Many people love sport).
Mi va bene qualunque cosa (Everything is good for me).

In the first example we don't know the exact number of people who love sport, while, in the second one, we don't know what type of thing we are talking about.

In Italian, like in other languages, there are many indefinite adjectives.

Here is a list of the most common ones with the grammar rules they follow to agree with the noun they describe:

Poco (a little, little, a few) Poca Pochi Poche
Diverso (several) Diversa Diversi Diverse
Vario (various) Varia Vari Varie
Altro (Other) Altra Altri Altre
Parecchio (quite a lot of) Parecchia Parecchi Parecchie
Tanto (So much, so many) Tanta Tanti Tante
Altrettanto (As much, as many) Altrettanta Altrettanti Altrettante
Molto (Very) Molta Molti Molte
Troppo (Too much, too many) Troppa Troppi Troppa
Tutto + article (All) Tutta Tutti Tutte
Certo (Certain) Certa Certi Certe
Tale (Such a)
Ogni (Each, every)
Qualsiasi / Qualunque / Qualsivoglia (Any)
Qualche (Some)

Finally, there are a few indefinite adjectives which agree with the noun they are related to, according to the following grammar rules:

Singular Gender
Nessuno (No, not any)
Alcuno (Any)
Ciascuno (Each, every)
Before noun beginning with: s + consonant, z, gn, ps, pn, x, i or y + another vowel.
Before all masculine nouns that do not require "Nessuno" / "Alcuno" / "Ciascuno"
Feminine: Before all feminine nouns

While nessuno and ciascuno have only a singular form, alcuno has also the plural:

Plural Gender
Alcuni Masculine
Alcune Feminine

Ho letto pochi libri quest'anno (I have read a few books this year).
Ho letto diversi libri quest'anno (I have read several books this year).
Anna ha varie cose da dire (Anna has various things to say).
Gradisci un'altra fetta di torta? (Would you like another slice of cake?).
Paolo e Luca hanno parecchi amici (Paolo and Luca have quite a lot of friends).
Paolo e Luca hanno molti amici (Paolo and Luca have many friends).
Ho troppe cose da fare domani (I have too many things to do tomorrow).
Abbiamo tutto il tempo che vuoi (We have all the time you want).
Certi giorni vado a lavorare in bicicletta (Some days I go to work by bicycle).
Ogni bambino dovrebbe andare a scuola (Every child should go to school).
Tali assurdità capitano solo qui (Such absurdities happen only here).
I marinai hanno una fidanzata in ogni porto (Sailors have a girlfriend in every port).
Sono disposto a fare qualsiasi cosa (I'm willing do to anything).
C'è qualche cosa di strano (There is something strange).
Mario non ha nessun amico (Mario does not have any friends).
Alcune sedie sono rotte (Some chairs are broken).
Ciascuno studente deve fare un compito diverso (Every student must do a different homework).

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Posted by Arnaldo Colonna on February 20, 2010 - All rights reserved

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