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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

Italian word of the day: ‘Più’

There are more ways to use this little word than you might think.

Italian word of the day: 'Più'
Photo: DepositPhotos

We learn this word quite early on in our Italian language-learning journey. But often, we later find that it’s even more useful than we first thought.

Più has various applications, including as an adverb, adjective, and noun. Let’s have a look at how they work.

The most important (and obvious) meaning of più is as an adjective meaning “more”.

– Ha fatto più punti di me.

– He scored more points than me.

More often it’s paired with an adjective and becomes as a modifying adverb, usually creating phrases that, when literally translated, would not be grammatically correct in English: (“more fast”, “more happy”, “more cold”, etc.)

– È più ricco di quanto pensassi

– He’s richer than I thought (which literally translates to the grammatically questionable: “he’s more rich than what I thought”.)

– Si è svolto tutto più rapidamente del previsto.

– Everything happened faster than expected.

It also doubles up as a superlative: più means “most” when it’s used like this:

– È il più preparato della classe

– He’s the best student (literally “most prepared”) in the class.

And in certain contexts, it can also mean “many”:

– È un film che ho già visto più volte.

– It’s a movie that I have seen many times.

As a noun, it means the “majority” or “bulk” of something.

– I più hanno votato contro

– The majority voted against.

And di più/in più also means “more” or “longer”

– Non verrà piùIt’s often found in phrases that mean “no more/not any more”

– He won’t come any more.

When used in mathematics, it means “plus”:

– Tre più tre fa sei.

– Three plus three equals six.

And it can also mean “plus” or “in addition to” in other scenarios:

– Il costo è di duecento euro più IVA.

– The price is two hundred euros plus VAT.

And when talking about temperature, it means “above”, as in above zero.

– La temperatura massima è stata di più cinque.

– The high temperature was five degrees above zero.

It’s pronounced “pyoo”. And don’t forget that the accent is important when speaking as well as writing.

 

There are lots of other phrases that include the word piu, such as per lo più (usually), and più o meno (more or less.)

These are the most common uses of piu, although we’re sure there are plenty more!

You can see our complete Word of the Day archive here. Do you have a favourite Italian word you’d like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.

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ITALIAN WORD OF THE DAY

Italian word of the day: ‘Quanto meno’

At least give this Italian word a try.

Italian word of the day: 'Quanto meno'

Here’s a useful adverb to have on hand when practicing your conversational Italian: quanto meno.

It can be used in a couple of different ways, but most commonly means ‘at least’.

We’re calling this a word rather than an expression because although ‘quanto meno’ is slightly more common in contemporary Italian, it can equally be written as ‘quantomeno’.

In many contexts, quanto meno and almeno are effectively synonyms. The only difference is that almeno simply means ‘at least’, while quanto meno sometimes implies a more emphatic ‘at the very least’ or ‘as a minimum’.

Mi potevi almeno accompagnare alla stazione.
You could have at least accompanied me to the station.

Se avessi saputo prima avrei potuto quanto meno darvi una mano.
If I had known earlier I would have at least been able to give you a hand.

Il traffico sulla strada per Como è stato tremendo.
Quanto meno avete avuto bel tempo.

The traffic on the way to Como was terrible.
– At least you had good weather.

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In other situations, however, quanto meno takes on a different meaning, becoming ‘to say the least’:

I suoi piani sono quanto meno avventurosi.
Her plans are adventurous to say the least.

I risultati sono preoccupanti, quanto meno.
The results are disturbing, to say the least.

There’s a third word that’s another synonym for ‘at least’: perlomeno. You’ll sometimes see it separated out into three words: per lo meno. Again, it can often be used more or less interchangeably with almeno.

Vorrei prendere perlomeno una settimana di vacanza quest’estate.
I want to take at least one week off this summer.

Perlomeno and quanto meno can also both mean something like ‘at any rate’.

Non verrebbe mai a trovarmi a casa, perlomeno.
She would never come to visit me at home, in any event.

Sei molto più in forma di me, quanto meno.
You’re in much better shape than me, at any rate.

None of these are to be confused with the quite different tanto meno, which means ‘much less’:

Non ho mai incontrato Laura, tanto meno sua sorella.
I’ve never met Laura, much less her sister.

Può a mala pena dirlo, tanto meno farlo.
He can barely say it, much less do it.

Got all that? Now see if you can fit quanto menoperlomeno and almeno into at least one conversation this week.

See our complete Word of the Day archive here. Do you have a favourite Italian word you’d like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.

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