When you begin studying Italian, you'll quickly learn a few quantifying adverbs such as molto, tanto, and poco. And you'll use them often, from the moment you start stringing sentences together.
But when you're speaking to Italians there's another word you're likely to hear used just as often: parecchio.
Depending on context, parecchio can be used in place of all the words and phrases we might use to quantify things in English: “lots of”, “loads of”, “plenty of”, “a good/great deal of”, “much”, “quite a lot of”, “some”, or “a fair bit of”.
Like these phrases, parecchio is usually added before a noun to quantify it.
– Sto seguendo questo dibattito da parecchio tempo
– I've been following this discussion for quite some time.
If you use it with a feminine noun, it takes a feminine form:
– C'e parecchia gente
– There are a lot of people
As it's a quantifying adverb – also called an adverb of intensity – parecchio can also be used with adjectives to increase their intensity: for example instead of saying “really”, or very”.
It doesn't work with all adjectives, but here are some examples:
– Forse anche lui è parecchio sveglio
– He's probably also very smart
– Sono persone parecchio infelici
– They're very unhappy people
With an adjective, you might also use it at the end of the sentence for a different emphasis, for example:
– Il tuo comportamento mi sorprende parecchio
– I'm really surprised at the way you're behaving.
Once you've got these words memorised, hopefully your Italian teacher will say:
– Mi pare che tu abbia migliorato parecchio
– I think you've improved a great deal
Do you have a favourite Italian word you'd like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.