I am sure you have heard the word ‘bellissimo’ (very beautiful) or ‘buonissimo’ (very good) in Italian. These -issimo endings are called absolute superlatives, and translate as ‘very’, ‘extremely’, ‘really’, or even ‘the most’. You can add this -issimo ending to many Italian adjectives and adverbs and describe something as ‘really really nice’ or ‘extremely happy or ‘very delicious’ or ‘the most beautiful’.
There are four endings:
- issimo (masculine singular)
- issima (feminine singular)
- issimi (masculine plural)
- issime (feminine plural)
Here are some adjectives and adverbs you can add the endings to:
- Bello – beautiful
- Simpatico – nice
- Facile – easy
- Difficile – difficult
Here are some example sentences using these adjectives and adverbs in their superlative forms:
- Tuo fratello è bellissimo – Your brother is really handsome
- La tua amica è simpaticissima – Your friend is really nice
- Questo esercizio è facilissimo – This exercise is really easy
- I compiti sono difficilissimi – The homework is so difficult
As you can see, the ending agrees in gender and number with the thing it is describing. If you want to add these endings to an adverb, you only need to use the masculine singular ending:
- Bene – good
Hai capito benissimo – You understood really well
- Male – bad
- Laura si sente malissimo – Laura feels really bad
There are other ways to form an absolute superlative, such as placing a word in front of the adjective like ‘molto’ or ‘assai’ (very), ‘proprio’ (really),’tanto’ (so) ‘incredibilmente’ (incredibly) or ‘estremamente’ (extremely). In informal Italian you can also add ‘super’, ‘ultra’ or ‘stra’ before the adjective.
Mi sento molto contenta oggi / Mi sento incredibilmente contenta oggi / Mi sento proprio contenta oggi / Mi sento stracontenta oggi – these are all ways to say ‘mi sento contentissima oggi’.