Adjectives can be categorized in different ways. We could, for example, classify them as ‘determinative’ or ‘relational’. Doing so might, at times, be useful in understanding the way they are used in Italian, in particular their position in a sentence relative to the noun they refer to.
This category gathers together a large number of common modifiers. Some of them can be used as adjectives or pronouns. Determinative adjectives can usually be found before the noun they refer to. Here are some examples
– demonstrative adjectives: questo, questa, queste, questi, quello, quella, quelle , quegli.
– possessive adjectives: mio, tuo, suo, nostro, vostro, loro (+ masculine, feminine, singular and plural forms). N.B. These are often used after the noun.
– indefinite adjectives: alcuni/e, qualche, ciascuno/a, nessuno/a
– interrogative adjectives: chi, che, quale
Relational adjectives are part of the larger group of ‘qualifying adjectives’ covered in the second explanation in this lesson.
The defining feature of relational adjectives is that they are derived from nouns and therefore they generally convey an objective, literal meaning.
They are normally placed after the noun they refer to (although there are exceptions). Some examples of relational adjectives are:
Note that these adjectives are formed by adding a suffix to the noun. Common adjective suffixes are:
-ale, -are, -istico, -ista, -ano, -oso, -aro, -ico, -ato, -ivo.
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