Italian Language/più vs di più

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QUESTION: Dear Maria,

Would you please help me to better understand the use of the adverb “più” (more)  and the use of the adverb “di più” (more or most)

I have learned in the past that both the adverb “più” and the adverb “di più” can be used to say “more”.

What I am wondering about is how to know when to say “più” for “more” as opposed to saying “di più” for “more”.

For example, “di più” is used in the following sentence:  
“Ami di più il mare o la montagna?”

Would you please tell me if my following translation is correct or not:  “Do you love the sea more or the mountains?”  

If this translation is correct, I was wondering if I could also say:  “Ami più il mare o la montagna?”    
(where “più” is used to say “more” instead of using “di più”  to  say “more”)

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

Rich

ANSWER: Dear Rich,

first of all  the adverb “più” (more) is  used only as a comparative, while “di più”  can be used either as a comparative(more)or as a superlative (most).
For example:

-“Ami più il mare o la montagna?”  or  “Ami di più il mare o la montagna?” (“Do you love the sea more  than the mountains ?), where both ”più” and “di più” are comparatives as there is a comparison between two nouns (mare /montagna).

-“Dovresti leggere  di  più” (you should read more) where the comparison is implied as you should read more than you really read.

-"Leggi più romanzi o saggi?"(Do you read novels more than essays?)where there is a comparison.

-“Ciò che mi angustia di più è il fatto che non posso partire oggi” (What worries me most of all is that I cannot leave today), where “di più” is used as a superlative for there is no comparison between two things, since “di più” corresponds to  “più di ogni altra cosa/più di tutto” (“most of all”).


In short, you can use both “più” and “di più” when  a noun is being compared with something else, whereas you must only use “di più” when there is no comparison as e.g. in “La casa che mi piace di più si trova in fondo al viale” where the adverb “di più”(most) is used as a superlative for it denotes a very high degree of a quality without implying a distinct comparison.

As for the translation “Do you love the sea more or the mountains?”, I think it’s better to say “Do you love the sea more than the mountains ?”

Hope this is clear enough.
Best regards,
Maria


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Maria,

Thank you very much for your help with this question.

Can you please tell me if this same reasoning applies to the to the use of the adverbs “meno“ and “di meno”.  

Is the adverb “meno” only used as a comparative to say “less” ?

Is the adverb “di meno” used as either a comparative to say “less” or as a superlative to say “least”?

Would you also please tell me if this also applies to the use of “in più” and in meno”

In other words,  is “in più” used to say both “more” as a comparative and “most” as a superlative, and is “in meno” used to say both “less” as a comparative and “least” as a superlative?

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich,

Actually  this same reasoning does not apply to the use of the adverbs “meno“ and “di meno”, since “meno“ and “di meno” are interchangeable and then can be used to say both “less” as a comparative and “least” as a superlative.

See for example:

-“Ami meno il mare o la montagna?”  or  “Ami di meno il mare o la montagna?”( Do you love the sea less  than the mountains ?)[comparative]

-“Dovresti parlare  di  meno”  or “Dovresti parlare  meno” (You should talk less)[comparative]

-“Ciò che mi angustia di meno è il fatto che non posso partire oggi” or “Ciò che mi angustia  meno è il fatto che non posso partire oggi”  as well as “Ciò che meno mi angustia  è il fatto che non posso partire oggi (What worries me the least is that I do not  leave today)[superlative]

-“Intendo scegliere la macchina che costa di meno” or “Intendo scegliere la macchina che costa meno”  (I want to choose the car that costs the least )[ superlative]


In short, the adverbs “meno” and “di meno” are used either as a comparative (less) or as a superlative (least).


As for “in più” and ”in meno”, that are different from “di più”/”di meno”, they are only used to say “more” and “less” as a comparative as they always imply a comparison.

See for example:

-“C’erano mille euro in  meno “( there was  a thousand euro less)  
-“Spesi  mille  euro  in meno” (I spent a thousand euro less)
-“C’erano mille euro in  più “( there was  a thousand euro more)  
-“Spesi  mille  euro  in più” (I spent a thousand euro more)
-“Eravamo in  più di cento “ (there were more than a hundred of us )

Best regards,
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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