In Italian there are a variety of ways to say ‘a lot’ and ‘many’. How would you say, for example, ‘there are a lot of beautiful churches in Italy’ or ‘there are so many good wines in Italy’? In grammar terms these are called quantifiers and it’s useful to be able to use them correctly in Italian.
You probably already know ‘molto’ (many) and tanto (so many) which can be used as both adjectives and adverbs. When they’re used as adjectives they have to agree in gender and number with the thing they describe. When they’re used as adverbs they don’t need to change.
Let’s look at some examples:
Ho speso molti soldi al mercato - I spent a lot of money at the market (adjective)
Ci sono molte scarpe belle qui - There are a lot of beautiful shoes here / There are many beautiful shoes here (adjective)
Ho visto tanti libri nuovi in libreria - I saw so many new books in the book shop (adjective)
I bimbi hanno mangiato tante torte - The children ate so many cakes (adjective)
La pizza è molto buona - The pizza is really nice (adverb)
Ieri ho lavorato tanto - Yesterday I worked a lot / Yesterday I worked so much (adverb)
Gli studenti sono bravi, studiano molto - The students are good, they study a lot (adverb)
Mi sono divertita tanto alla festa ieri - I had so much fun at the party yesterday / I enjoyed myself a lot at the party yesterday
There are some other, more informal, expressions we can use to express: a lot, so much, many - let’s have a look!
Parecchio (‘quite a lot’ or ‘quite a bit’)
Vi aspettiamo da parecchio tempo - We have been waiting for you for quite some time
Abbiamo bevuto parecchio! - We drank quite a bit!
Piangeva parecchio - He was crying quite a lot
Abbiamo ballato parecchio in discoteca - We danced quite a lot at the club
Un bel po’ (‘quite a lot’)
C’è ancora un bel po’ di pasta nella pentola - There’s quite a lot of pasta left in the pot
Sono stata in un bel po’ di posti in Italy - I have been to quite a few places in Italy
Hanno speso un bel po’ per quella casa - They really spent quite a lot on that house
Un bel po’ di gente viene all’evento - Quite a lot of people are coming to the event
Un sacco (literally ‘a sack’ or ‘a bag’)
Ho ricevuto un sacco di messaggini - I received lots of / a load of / so many messages
C’era un sacco di gente alla mostra - There were lots of people at the party
Abbiamo mangiato un sacco questo fine settimana - We ate so much this weekend
Mi piace un sacco questa birra - I really like this beer
Abbiamo camminato un sacco ieri - We walked so much yesterday
Un mucchio (literally ‘a heap’ or ‘a pile’)
C’è un mucchio di lavoro da fare - There’s a heap of work left to do
Ho speso un mucchio di soldi ieri - I spent a load of money yesterday
Ora abbiamo un mucchio di problemi - Now we have so many problems