Italian Language/Meaning of 'grande'

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Question
Cara Maria

I was re-listening to my Pimseleur lessons and was reminded that 'grande' means not just big/large but also 'grown up'.  On checking the dictionary I see it also means 'great'.  Is this in the sense of being 'of a great size' or in the sense 'this is so good, it's actually great'?

Grazie mille,
Robin

Answer
Hello,

the adjective "grande" can have different meanings, according to the context.

So, it can mean:

1)“big/large“ as in e.g. “Un grande fiume”(a big / large  river); “La mia camera è molto  grande “( my room is very large / big); “E’ grande  il tuo giardino?” ( Is your garden big?); “Il suo maglione mi va  grande”( his sweater is large for me); “Queste scarpe sono troppo grandi “ (these shoes are too big/ large); “Fu un  grande errore “ (it was a big mistake),  etc.

2)“large/ vast / great” as in “ Sono una  grande famiglia” ( they're a large family); “C'era una  gran folla al concerto” (there was a large / vast crowd at the concert; “Un  grande esercito” ( a large army ); ”Un grande  amore” (a great  love); “Una grande  gioia” ( a great joy); “E’ una grande  opportunità per lui “ ( it's a great opportunity for him); “Giacomo Leopardi è uno dei più grandi poeti italiani” (Giacomo Leopardi  is one of the greatest Italian poets);  “E’ stato  un gran giorno” ( it was a great day); “Il Cinquecento fu l'epoca delle grandi scoperte” (The sixteenth century was  the era of the great discoveries), etc.


3)"grown up" as in “Egli ha due figlie grandi” (he's got two grown-up daughters); “Racconti per grandi e piccini,” (tales for grown-ups and children), etc.


4)”great“ in the sense of being "of a great size" as in “Queste scarpe sono di una misura più grande” (these shoes are a size  too big) ; “Questi pantaloni sono troppo grandi”, etc.
Also, in the sense 'this is so good, it's actually great'- often  in  the colloquial language- as in “Grande! E’ davvero fantastico!” (Great!  That's really great!)


5)"high / tall” as in “Una  grande montagna” ( a high mountain);  “La strada raggiunge grandi altezze” ( the road climbs to great heights); Era un uomo grande  e grosso” ( He was  a big tall man);”A grande  velocità” ( at high speed ), etc.

Hope this is clear enough. Feel free however to ask me again.

Cordiali saluti.
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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