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Question
Dear Maria,

Would you please explain the difference between the meaning and use of the masculine noun “carretto" as opposed to the meaning and use of the feminine noun “carretta”.  

Would you also please explain how these words differ from the meaning and use of the masculine noun “carro”.  

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

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich,

the difference between the meaning and use of the masculine noun “carretto" as opposed to the meaning and use of the feminine noun “carretta”  is the following:

-“carretto” indicates a small vehicle  as it is the diminutive of “carro” which is a cart, i.e.  a vehicle with either two or four wheels, pulled by a horse and used for carrying goods.


-“carretta” is a colloquial term used either  to indicate  a vehicle or ship that is badly damaged as in “La tua auto è proprio una carretta!”(Your car is really a wreck!) as well as  in “Quell'imbarcazione non è altro che una carretta del mare” (That ship is nothing but an old and unsafe boat) or in a figurative sense to mean that someone works slowly and continuously, but without imagination, enthusiasm, or interest, as in e.g. “Tiriamo la carretta” (We plod along)and “Per anni egli tirò la carretta in quel suo posto di lavoro” (For years, he's plodded away at the same dull routine job).

As you can see, both “carretto” and “carretta” differ from the meaning and use of the masculine noun “carro” (cart/wagon) which is just a vehicle with either two or four wheels, pulled by a horse and used for carrying goods.
See for example: "Su, carichiamo acqua e provviste sul carro" (Let's get the water and provisions into the wagon) or the Italian saying "Mettere il carro davanti ai buoi" ( to put the cart before the horse ).

Lastly, I have to mention some “parole composte” where “carro” is followed by another word such as “carro armato” (tank) , “carro attrezzi”( wrecking car), “carro funebre” (hearse), “carro bagagli” (luggage van), “carro bestiame” (cattle car/ stockcar), “carro frigorifero” (refrigerated wagon),” carro merci” (goods wagon/freight car).

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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