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The Saint Louis Italian Language Meetup Group Message Board › Qualche risposta

Qualche risposta

A former member
Here are some answers to some questions that have come up in recent meetups:

fra qualche minuto - why is minuto singular when this means "in a few minutes"

qualche is always singular, even though the sense is usually plural. It is like "the odd problem" = "a few problems" in English.

For example: Ha qualche amica a Roma. means "He has a few girlfriends in rome."

giorno vs giornata - what is the difference?

There are a number of words that take the -ata ending. This ending emphasizes temporal duration or when something happens. The focus is on what happens (or happened) during the time.

So Buongiorno! means "Good day!" and Buonasera! "Good evening" but Buona giornata means "Have a good day['s work]" and Buona Serata! means "have a good evening/enjoy your evening."

Other words that commonly take this ending are: anno "year" annatta, mattina "morning" mattinata, and notte "night" nottata

Some examples:
Ha finito il lavoro in mattinata. --- He finished the job during the morning.
Che giornatta! --- What a [hard] day['s work]!
Purtroppo è stata una sertata di pioggia. --- Unfortunately it rained all evening (It as an evening of rain).
Dopo tante nottate di lavoro, non ne poteva più dalla stanchezza. --- After so many nights spent working, he was tired to death (After so many nights of work, he couldn't do anymore because of tiredness).

position of adjectives

Adjectives commonly come after a noun. As we learned in lesson 15, adjectives can come before. What is the difference?

Contrary to what we thought, placing an adjective before a noun does not emphasize that adjective. It is almost the opposite.

An adjective follows the now when there is an explicit or implicit contrast with other things. So il bicicletta rosso singles out the bicycle as being red, as opposed to the other ones that aren't red.

An adjective precedes a noun when the adjective in intrinsic to the noun, that is, gives an inherent characteristic of the noun. For example, one would say la bianca neve, because snow in intrinsically white; normally there is no such thing as snow which is not white. It is possible to say la neve bianca; however, this would highlight and emphasize the whiteness of the snow, indicating that it particularly prominent in it's whiteness. In any case, one would always say la neve gialla and never la gialla neve.

This gets more important when describing attributes to a person. È una bella ragazza means that she is a beautiful girl (and always is). È una ragazza bella means that she is a beautiful girl now (but isn't always; you should see her in the morning!).

Putting the adjective in front can suggest that the adjective is inherent. This is often used in propaganda and advertising:
Le nostre eroiche truppe hanno salvato la vita a molti bambini. --- Our heroic troups have saved the lives of many children.
Ammiretete i delicati colori delle bluse Armani. --- You will admire the delicate colors of Armani blouses.

Changing Le nostre eroiche truppe to Le nostre truppe eroiche would be equivalent to saying "Our heroic troops have saved the lives of many children (but that our less-than-heroic troops did not)." Likewise saying i colori delicati... would be equivalent to "You'll admire the delicate colors of Armani blouses (but some aren't delicate, and those you won't admire).

I hope this had made things clearer. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.
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