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Enhanced Comprehensive Italian Level 2 - Lesson #7

Partitives and grammatical terms in Italian

After this class you should;
be able to identify, construct and use Italian partitives.
be able to understand and use common Italian grammatical terms.


The partitive

Constructed from di and the words Alcuni, qualche and un po' di

By the very nature of it's name, a partitive represents a part of a whole. In English we usually convey this thought with words like some or any. It is an non quantitative expression. We create a partitive by using the contractions created by combining the word di and the definite article require by the whole that we want to express a part of. These are the same contractions we made when we studied prepositions as shown below;


LO / L'

dello / dell'

della / dell'




Here are a few examples of these in use;

Vorrei del vino.
Ho comprato dei fiori.
Posso avere dell'acqua?
Ho visto degli amici.
Hai delle sorelle?
(di + il)
(di + i)
(di + l')
(di + gli)
(di + le)
I'd like some wine.
I bought some flowers.
Can I have some water?
I saw some friends.
Do you have any sisters?

There are a few other ways to create a non quantitative expression. We can do this by using the words qualche, alcune and un po' di. Let's start with un po' di. You can use this when the partitive (some) means a little bit. Examples;

Vorrei del vino.
Vorrei un po' di vino..
Posso avere dell'acqua?
Posso avere un po' d'acqua?
I'd like some wine.
I'd like a little bit of wine.
Can I have some water?
Can I have a little bit of water?

Alcune and Qualche can be used when some means a few. Qualche is invariable and is only followed by a singular noun. Alcune or Alcuni is always followed by a plural noun.

Ho comprato dei fiori.
Ho comprato alcuni fiori.
Ho comprato qualche fiore.
Ho visto degli amici.
Ho visto alcuni amici.
Ho visto qualche amico.
I bought a few flowers.
I bought a few flowers.
I bought a few flowers.
I saw a few friends.
I saw a few friends.
I saw a few friends.

In addition, qualche is also used in conjunction with other word much in the same way we use the word some with other words. Here are a few examples;

Qualche volta
Some times

Finally the distinctions, "un po' di" is fairly easy because it is just a little bit but how do you know when to use alcuni/e, qualche or the "di" partitive. Here are a few differences:

1. Qualche can mean some in the singular sense meaning just one such as somebody, something, some day, some reason, etc. In addition qualche (unless combined with another word) is always an adjective.

2. Alcuni is always plural and can be used as a pronoun as in some would say. Further more it can form a negative sentence in the sense of 'any´"Non ho alcun contanti. (I don't have any cash). It is also taught that alcuni is more appropriate to use when referring to a "specific" some such as "here are some of the books I told you about" or "some of our flights were late".

3. The "di" partitive on the other hand is used for more generalized statements like "I would like some milk" or "I need some butter".

Printable Homework


regola grammaticale
passato prossimo
trapassato prossimo
grammatical rule
present perfect
past perfect
tempi composti
verbi servili
pronomi relativi
pronome complemento oggetto
pronome complemento indiretto
compound tenses
modal or auxiliary verbs
relative pronouns
direct object pronoun
indirect pronoun

Printable Vocabulary
Printable large flash cards (English Side)
Printable large flash cards (Italian Side)
Printable small flash cards (English Side)
Printable small flash cards (Italian Side)
Downloadable Podcast
basic online exercise
Exercise (Italian to English)
Exercise (English to Italian)
printable crossword


Printable Practice Sheets
printable comprehension crossword
Useful Italian word;
Pronto? - Pronto.
Are you ready? - I am ready. (or) Hello (when answering the telephone)

Class Dialog

Using only the vocabulary we have learned so far, learn how to say everything below in Italian, print out and bring the printable form of this dialog and be prepared to say the dialog below for one of the persons in class.

Person #1 – Hi ________.
Person #2 – Hi _________, how are you?
Person #1 – I am well, thank you and you? How are you?
Person #2 – I am bad. I have some problems with learning Italian.
Person #1 – I thought you understood your Italian lessons well. Why now do you have some problems?
Person #2 – I understood well when we were studying verbs and the various tenses like the present, future, imperfect, imperative, present perfect, etc.
Person #1 – I remember. You know the verbs very well, the conditional, subjunctive and the compound tenses. Your pronunciation is good also. It is hard for me to remember some modal verbs.
Person #2 – A little bit of grammatical rules about verbs is difficult to learn but pronouns and prepositions are very hard!
Person #1 – Really? I already know some pronouns but I don’t know any prepositions. Why are they difficult to learn?
Person #2 – You have to learn about relative pronouns, direct object pronouns, indirect object pronouns then you have to learn about prepositions, Enough!
Person #1 – Ok, you need some time to rest. I remember that someone told me when it is like this it is good to rest.
Person #2 – You are right. Do you want to do something? Want to drink some wine?
Person #1 – Yes, lets drink some wine and talk about something that is easier to learn, maybe nouns and articles.
Person #2 – Sometimes, you have good ideas. Thank you.
Person #1 – You are welcome, lets go!

printable class dialog

You can learn more about INSERT TOPIC HERE on these pages of the following books.

18 - 20 of the book "English Grammar for Students of Italian" by Sergio Adorni and Karen Primorac, copyright 1995.
68 - 72 (page #'s may vary as I have an older edition) of "Ciao" by Carla Federici & Carla Larese Riga, copyright 1986.
97 - 106 of the book "Complete Italian Grammar" by Marcel Dansesi, copyright 1976.

If you do not own these books, don't worry, it is not mandatory that you do unless you were instructed to buy them at the beginning of the class. However, they can be very useful in a lot of ways and if you would like to know more about these books and where to buy them, simply go to our online bookstore or quicker yet, just click on the appropriate book below.

Did you know?

"...The most famous of Pisa's many landmarks is the marble Leaning Tower (180 ft/55 m high). Begun (1173) as the bell tower for the cathedral of Santa Maria Maggiore, it started to list when three stories high, and attempts to compensate for this during construction (which was stopped several times by war) have given the tower a slightly curved shape vertically. By the 1990s the tower was tilting more than 13 ft (4 m) from vertical, and in 1993 it was shored up with 660-ton (600-metric-ton) lead counterweights. In 1995 steel cables attached to an underground platform were installed to further correct the problem, but only by gradually removing earth from underneath the tower was the tilt reduced to about 11 ft 8 in. (3.56 m) in 2001. The present restoration is predicted to preserve the tower's stability for some 300 more years.

The city's other noteworthy structures include the celebrated Pisan Romanesque cathedral (1068-1118), which has a fine marble facade, bronze panels by Bonnano Pisano, and a pulpit by Giovanni Pisano (reconstructed after a fire in 1926); the marble baptistery (1153-1278); the Camp Santo (cemetery), with frescoes of the 14th and 15th cent. (many badly damaged in World War II); and the churches of Santa Maria della Spina (early 14th cent.) and Santa Caterina. Nearby the city is the Carthusian Monastery of Pisa, with large classical cloisters..."

You can find this information and more at Encyclopedia.com on Pisa

You can see a just few pictures of Pisa here.

Have you heard?

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