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how to use the word molto in italian

Ciao guys. This week's tutorino Italian grammar lesson is devoted to a simple-seeming word that gives a lot of beginners headaches: molto.

Molto can mean very, much, many, a lot or a lot of. In other words, "molto" ha molti significati! This is part of what makes it tricky. But the really hard part is knowing when to make it agree.

In layman's terms, molto agrees when it comes before a noun. It doesn't agree before an adjective or adverb or after a verb.

Before a noun it means many, much or a lot of, and is an adjective, so it agrees. Leggo molti libri. I read a lot of books (masculine noun). Canto molte canzoni. I sing a long of songs (feminine noun).

Before an adjective or adverb or after a verb it means very or a lot, and is an adverb, so no agreement. Sei molto bella. You are very beautiful. Balli molto bene. You dance very well. Mangio molto. I eat a lot.

But what about when it's used on its own and doesn't modify a noun, verb, adverb or adjective? Well then it's a pronoun - it's standing in for a noun and is acting as the subject or object of the sentence. In this case it takes the gender and number of the noun it's replacing. Quante donne hai? - Ne ho molte. How many ladies do you have? - I have many.

And there you have it. A quick and easy lesson that should forever clear up the confusing word molto.

Try the exercises in the activities section to make sure you get it. C4N!

Reader Comments (7)

Very helpful lesson! This is the exact tip I was looking for. Thanks!
January 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJ.
thanks a lot
April 28, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterricky
molto bene!
May 9, 2010 | Unregistered Commentergrazie!
yes very useful
February 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJenny Bennett
Thanks. Better than my profs
April 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterUm
This site is lovely! None of this is explained in Rosetta Stone lessons, you're just supposed to absorb it from the context, but it is soo helpful to see it written out in plain English! My only question is, where are the Activities for drilling on the use of 'motto'?
April 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJean Walbridge
Thanks! I needed that!
April 24, 2015 | Unregistered Commenteranonymous

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