Italian Language/“pubblicità”


QUESTION: Dear Lauren,

I am a bit confused with the Italian word “pubblicità”.

Can you please help me to better understand this word.

Is “pubblicità” used to refer to any type of commercial or advertisement?   

Does “pubblicità” also mean “publicity”?  

Does “pubblicità”  also mean “advertising”  in the sense of an English gerund?  If “yes”, would you please give me an example.

Thank you very, very much.



ANSWER: Hi Rich,

Sorry for the delay in replying. I am currently on holiday and forgot to set my vacation dates.

As for your question, pubblicità is a word used to refer to any type of commercial or advertisement. It also has the meaning of publicity.

Pubblicità is also used to mean 'advertising'. For example, mio fratello lavora nella pubblicità (my brother works in advertising)

Its verb counterpart is pubblicizzare.

Hope this helps,
Kind regards,

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

QUESTION: Dear Lauren,

Thank you very much for your help with this question.

I hope that you will not mind a follow-up question about the use of the noun “pubblicità” in the sentence:  “Mio fratello lavora nella pubblicità”.  (My brother works in advertising)

I am trying to make sure that I understand the correct way to express an English gerund in Italian.  In the past I had learned that the English gerund is expressed in Italian only by the use of an Italian infinitive.  But in this sentence, the English gerund (advertising) is being expressed by an Italian noun (pubblicità) instead of using the infinitive form (pubblicizzare).

This raises several questions for me. It would help me so much if you would please answer the following questions.

Is this a special case where the noun “pubblicità” can be translated as “advertising”?  Or, can this also happen with other words?  In other words, I am trying to find out if there are any other Italian nouns that translate into English as an English gerund, instead of using an Italian infinitive to express this English gerund.

Can you also please tell me if the infinitive “pubblicizzare” is ever used to say “advertising”?

Thank you very much.  I very much appreciate your help.



Hi Rich,

Although you are correct that the general rule is to use an infinitive in Italian as an equivalent of the English gerund, that is not the case in this example. This is because although 'advertising' is a gerund, here, it is acting as a noun. This is also reflected in Italian by the use of the article 'la' before 'pubblicità'.

I can't think of any other examples off the top of my head but I would say that rule of thumb is if an English word has a gerund ending but is acting as a noun, such as advertising, then translate this as a noun in Italian.

'Pubblicizzare' is used to mean 'advertising' but in the sense of reflecting the English gerund as an infinitive. For example, 'publicizzare e' facile' (advertising is easy - i.e. the physical act of doing it) as compared to 'la pubblicità e' facile (advertising is easy - i.e. the job itself)

Hope this helps,
Kind regards,

Italian Language

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Lauren O' Hagan


Although not my mother tongue, I have spoken Italian fluently for more than 12 years so I am very confident to answer any questions about the Italian language. I am also competent in Roman Dialect if there are any questions relating to this.


MA Applied Linguistics First Class Honours in Modern Language Studies (Linguistics, Italian, Spanish) Received the top grade in the whole of UK for GCSE Italian, receiving a letter of congratulations from the Italian Consulate Completed my two-year A Level in 1 year with a grade A country. Carried out many translation jobs for a wide range of clients and topics including self-help, literature and exam papers. For personal reference, I have also translated Federico Moccia's Tre Metri Sopra Il Cielo and 2 of Francesco Totti's book.

El Pensador, University of Bristol

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