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Italian Language/"molto" vs "moltissimo"

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Question
Dear Maria,

My question is about the adverb “molto” and about the absolute superlative form of the adverb “moltissimo”.

My dictionary states that the adverb “molto” means "much", but can also mean “very much” and gives the following example:  “Ti è piaciuto?  -  sì, molto”  =  “Did you like it?  -  yes, very much”

I have previously learned that the absolute superlative form of the adverb – “moltissimo” means “very much”.  

Can you please tell me if this is true  -  do both the adverb “molto” and the absolute superlative form of the adverb “moltissimo” mean “very much”?  

If “yes”. how can I know when to say “molto”  and when to say “moltissimo”?

For example, I have encountered the following sentence:
“La montagna mi piace moltissimo.”

Can you please tell me if this sentence means -  “I like the mountains very much.”

Does saying - “La montagna mi piace molto”  imply a different meaning than saying - “La montagna mi piace moltissimo.”  ?

I am trying to find out there a difference in meaning between using the adverb “molto” to say “very much” and using the absolute superlative form of the adverb “moltissimo” to say  “very much”.

Thank you for your help.

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich,

actually the adverb “molto” corresponds exactly to the English "much", while its superlative form “moltissimo” means “very much”.

In Italian, in fact, there is a difference between “molto” and “moltissimo”, as you can see in the following examples:
-”Ultimamente non leggo molto” (I do not read much recently);
-”Ultimamente leggo moltissimo” (I do read very much recently);
-“Non si sono visti molto  in questo periodo”(they haven't met much lately);
-“Si sono visti moltissimo in questo periodo”(they have met very much lately);
-“Non mi piacciono molto i cioccolatini” (I don't like chocolates much);
-"I cioccolatini mi piacciono moltissimo” (I like chocolates very much);
etc.

Therefore to say  “Ti è piaciuto?  - Sì, molto” is not the same as to say  “Ti è piaciuto?  - Sì, moltissimo”, for there is obviously a difference between “molto”(much) and “moltissimo” (very much), so that the correct translation for “Ti è piaciuto?  - Sì, molto” would be “Did you like it?  -  Yes, much”, since “Yes, very much” means “Sì. moltissimo”.

In short, you are right when saying  that the absolute superlative form of the adverb "molto", i.e. “moltissimo” means “very much”, since it is not true that  both the adverb “molto” and the absolute superlative form “moltissimo” mean “very much”.

So, the sentence “La montagna mi piace moltissimo” means exactly  “I like the mountains very much”, while  saying “La montagna mi piace molto”  implies a different meaning than saying  “La montagna mi piace moltissimo”.

To conclude, it’s correct to use  the adverb “much” for “molto” and  “very much” for  the superlative form “moltissimo”.

Hope this is clear enough.
All the best,
Maria

Italian Language

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Maria

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Italian is my mother tongue and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning Italian Language.

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Over 25 years teaching experience.

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I received my Ph.D.in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

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