Italian Language/forme composte

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QUESTION: Dear Maria,

Would you please tell me if it is possible to use an Italian cardinal number as part of a “forme composte”.

For example, would “frase quattro”  be considered a “forme composte”?  

I am thinking that “frase” is a noun and that “quattro” is a noun, and therefore - “frase quattro” (sentence four) would be a “forme composte”

If this is true, would you please tell me if it would ever be acceptable to say - “a me riesce difficile tradurre frase quattro” (it is difficult for me to translate sentence four) as an alternative to saying - “a me riesce difficile tradurre la frase N° 4”  (it is difficult for me to translate the sentence number 4)

Can you also please tell me if “appartamento otto” (apartment eight) is also considered to be a “forme composte”.

Thank you very much.

Very Sincerely,

Rich

ANSWER: Dear Rich,

the expression  “frase quattro” (sentence four) is not  considered to be a “forma composta”, but simply a way of saying:“frase numero quattro” as well as ”frase N°4”(sentence number 4).

The fact that “frase” is a noun and “quattro” is a cardinal number (not a noun, of course) does not make "frase quattro" a “forma composta”

As for “A me riesce difficile tradurre  frase quattro” (without the definite article “la”)  as an alternative to saying - “A me riesce difficile tradurre la frase N°4", it is wrong in Italian, since we say:“A me riesce difficile tradurre la frase N°4”  or more concisely “A me riesce difficile tradurre la frase quattro”.

Also, the expression “appartamento otto” (apartment eight) is not  considered to be a “forma composta”.

Best regards,
Maria


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

QUESTION: Dear Maria,

Thank you very, very much for your help with this question.

I hope that you will not mind this follow-up question.

I need to ask you about cardinal numbers not being nouns.   I have previously learned, and now I realize incorrectly, that cardinal numbers are either invariable adjectives or invariable nouns.  I just wanted to make sure that I now understanding correctly that cardinal numbers are not considered to be nouns.  

Can you please verify for me that cardinal numbers are not nouns and that cardinal numbers are only adjectives.

If this is the case, would I then be correct to think that “quattro” is an adjective in “frase quattro” and that “otto” is an adjective in “appartamento otto”.

Thank you so much for this information.  I am so glad to have been corrected so that I can now understand the correct way that Italian numbers are used.

Sincerely,
Rich

Answer
Dear Rich,

Actually cardinal numbers can be  either invariable adjectives or invariable nouns.  But it depends on the context.

For example, they are only invariable adjectives in sentences like the  following:” le quattro stagioni”, “ i quattro Vangeli”, “ i quattro punti cardinali”, “animali a quattro zampe”, “le quattro operazioni aritmetiche“, etc.
Also, they are only adjectives  in  some sentences where a noun such as “persone”, ”parti” , “cavalli” , “posti” , “numero”  are  implied, as in “mettersi in fila per quattro [persone]; “un servizio da caffè per quattro [persone];” dividere in quattro[parti]; “bob a quattro [posti];” carrozza/ tiro a quattro [cavalli], “appartamento [numero] quattro”, “frase [numero] quattro”.

On the other hand, they are only  invariable nouns in the following proverbs: “vero come due e due fanno quattro” ,  “non dire quattro se non l’hai nel sacco”,  or in some sentences like the following: “prendere quattro in Latino”, “Il quattro è un numero pari”, “il quattro con” / Il quattro senza“ as a racer with /without oar (in rowing  a  race) .

Hope this can be helpful to you.

Best regards,

Maria

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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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