A Concise Overview of Italian Adverbs

An adverb is a word that provides additional information about a verb, adjective, clause, or another adverb. In contrast to adjectives which change to agree in gender and number with the noun they describe, Italian adverbs remain invariable.

To illustrate how adverbs work, I will provide some examples. Consider the following Italian phrase where an adverb modifies a verb:

Example of an Italian adverb which modifies a verb (Translation: “Francesco sings well”)

(Note that the arrows point from the head word towards its dependent word)

Let's now look at an example phrase in which the adverb modifies the adjective:

Example of an Italian adverb which modifies an adjective (Translation: “Very clear pronunciation”)

Now have a look at an Italian phrase where the adverb modifies another adverb:

Example of an Italian adverb which modifies another adverb (Translation: “Giulio talks too fast”)

The Italian language has several different types of adverbs. We will now look at the most frequently-used adverbs in each category.

Adverbs of frequency

Adverbs of frequency (or “Avverbi di frequenza” as they are called in Italian) provide information about how often something occurs.

Some common examples of Italian adverbs of frequency include “sempre” (always), “spesso” (often), “di solito” (usually), “a volte” (sometimes), “raramente” (rarely), and “mai” (never).

Table: Some of the most common Italian adverbs of frequency
Adverb translation
spesso often
sempre always
mai never
solitamente, di solito usually, habitually
raramente rarely, seldom
a volte at times
ogni tanto sometimes, every now and then
talvolta sometimes

Adverbs of degree

Adverbs of degree (or “Avverbi di grado” as they are known in Italian) indicate the degree, level of intensity or quantity of something else.

Some common examples of Italian adverbs of degree include “molto” (very), “poco” (little), “abbastanza” (enough), “tanto” (so much), and “troppo” (too much).

Table: Some examples of Italian adverbs of degree
Adverb translation
molto a lot, much, very much
moltissimo very very much
poco a little, little, not much
abbastanza enough, sufficiently
piuttosto rather, quite
meno less
più more, most
soprattutto mostly, above all
quasi almost
tanto a lot, so much
troppo too much
un po’ a little bit
parecchio quite a lot
appena barely, hardly
leggermente slightly, mildly, lightly
per niente, per nulla at all
affatto at all
circa approximately, about
assai very, very much
totalmente totally
completamente completely
particolarmente particularly
interamente entirely, wholly
estremamente extremely
incredibilmente incredibly
notevolmente remarkably
straordinariamente extraordinarily
veramente truly
eccezionalmente exceptionally

The adverbs Molto, poco, troppo, and tanto can also be used as adjectives in Italian. When you use them as adverbs, though, remember that they are invariable, and never change their form.

Adverbs of place

Adverbs of place (or “Avverbi di luogo” as they are called in Italian) provide information about where something is, or where an action is performed.

Some common examples of Italian adverbs of place include “qui” (here), “lì” (there), “davanti” (in front), “dietro” (behind), “sopra” (on top), and “sotto” (under).

Table: Some examples of Italian adverbs of place
Adverb translation
qui, qua here
lì, là there, in that place
intorno, attorno around
vicino near, close
lontano far away, distant
di fronte in front of
sopra on, above
su up, on
sotto under
giù below
davanti in front
avanti forward, onward
dietro behind
indietro backwards
dentro inside
fuori out, outside
a sinistra on the left
a destra on the right
oltre further, beyond
via away
dappertutto, ovunque everywhere
da qualche parte somewhere
da nessuna parte nowhere
altrove somewhere else, elsewhere
accanto nearby, next to

The adverbs “qui” and “qua” can be used interchangeably. The same goes with “lì” and “là.”

Adverbs of time

Adverbs of time (or “Avverbi di tempo” as they are called in Italian) provide information about when an action takes place.

Some common examples of Italian adverbs of time are: “ora” (now), “oggi” (today), “ieri” (yesterday), “domani” (tomorrow), “presto” (soon), and “tardi” (late). More examples are given in the table below:

Table: Some of the most frequently used Italian adverbs of time
Adverb translation
ora now
adesso now, right now, in this instant
attualmente currently, at the moment
intanto in the meantime, meanwhile
infine in the end, ultimately
finora so far, till now
prima earlier, previously, before
tardi late
già already, yet
ancora still
nuovamente again
tuttora still
dopo after, afterwards, later
poi then, after that
subito immediately, as soon as possible
immediatamente immediately, right away
successivamente subsequently
presto soon, early
stavolta this time
ormai by this time
allora at that time, back then
ieri yesterday
oggi today
domani tomorrow
dopodomani the day after tomorrow
l’altro ieri the day before yesterday
ogni giorno every day
stamattina this morning
stanotte tonight
stasera this evening

Italian, the adverb presto is spelled the same as Spanish adverb presto, but they have completely different meanings. As mentioned previously, presto means “soon” in Italian, while the same word in Spanish means “quickly.”

Adverbs of manner

Adverbs of manner (or “Avverbi di modo” as they are known in Italian) provide information about how something happens.

Some common examples of Italian adverbs of manner include “bene” (well), “male” (badly), “velocemente” (quickly), “ lentamente” (slowly), “facilmente” (easily), and “difficilmente” (with difficulty).

Table: Some examples of Italian adverbs of manner
Adverb translation
bene well, good
male badly, wrongly
meglio better
peggio worse
volentieri with pleasure
apposta on purpose
meno less, fewer
così like this
praticamente practically
perfettamente perfectly
personalmente personally, in person
ufficialmente officially
esattamente exactly, precisely
diversamente differently, otherwise
direttamente directly
decisamente decidedly
esclusivamente exclusively
chiaramente clearly
principalmente primarily, mainly
fortunatamente luckily, fortunately
profondamente deeply
semplicemente simply
effettivamente actually
facilmente easily

As can be seen in the examples given above, Italian adverbs of manner are often formed by adding the suffix “-mente” to the feminine singular form of the corresponding adjective.

Adverbs of probability

Adverbs of probability are used to indicate how likely something is to happen. The table below shows some of the main adverbs of probability which are used in Italian:

Table: Some of the most frequently used Italian adverbs of probability
Adverb translation
probabilmente probably
forse perhaps, maybe, possibly
magari maybe
eventualmente possibly, potentially
possibilmente if possible, possibly
presumibilmente presumably
certamente certainly
sicuramente surely
ovviamente obviously
evidentemente evidently

Affirmation and negation adverbs

Affirmation and negation adverbs are used to accept or refuse something, and show your approval or disapproval. Here are some of the most common Italian affirmation adverbs:

Table: Some examples of Italian affirmation adverbs
Adverb translation
sicuramente surely
di sicuro for sure
certamente, di certo certainly
ovviamente obviously
davvero really, in fact
esattamente exactly
proprio exactly, precisely
indubbiamente undoubtedly
senza dubbio without a doubt, no doubt

Let’s now move on to negation adverbs. See some examples below:

Table: Some examples of Italian negation adverbs
Adverb translation
No no, no way
Non not, neither
Né... né neither... nor
Neanche, nemmeno, neppure not even

Interrogative adverbs

Interrogative adverbs introduce a question. Here they are:

Table: Some of the most frequently used Italian interrogative adverbs
Adverb translation
dove where
quando when
come how
perché why
come mai how come
quanto how much

Conjunctive adverbs

Conjunctive adverbs connect two clauses. The most frequently used Italian conjunctive adverbs are provided the table below:

Table: Some examples of Italian conjunctive adverbs
Adverb translation
invece instead
inoltre moreover, furthermore
purtroppo unfortunately, regretfully
altrimenti otherwise
cioè that is, that is to say
perché because
pure also, as well
anche also, as well, besides
comunque anyway, either way, in any case
piuttosto rather than, instead of, more likely
appunto precisely
innanzitutto first of all
dopodiché thereafter
insomma in short, in conclusion
finalmente at last
infine finally, eventually