QUESTION: Dear Maria,
My question is about the use of the masculine noun “argento” (silver) and the use of the adjective “argentato” (silver). I understand that both of these words mean “silver”, but I am unsure when they mean “silver the metal” as apposed to “silver the color”.
Can you please help me to understand the correct usage of these words.
Can you please also tell me if “argento” is ever used as a complemento as in saying – “d’argento”.
Thank you very, very much.
ANSWER: Dear Rich,
first of all the noun “argento” is used as a “complemento di materia” as in saying “d’argento”, just like in “un anello d’argento” (a silver ring) where we indicate the material of which this ring consists.
See also “medaglia d’argento” (silver medal), “collana d’argento” (silver necklace), “braccialetto d’argento” (silver bracelet ), where “argento” indicates the metal.
Moreover the noun “argento” as a metal is used in sentences like e.g. “Sto cercando un panno per pulire l’argento” (I'm looking for a cloth for cleaning silver) or “In quella zona ci sono miniere d’argento” (They are mining for silver in that area).
Also, the noun “argento” can be used metaphorically as in “nozze d’argento” (silver wedding, 25 years after the date of a marriage) where "argento" is used to indicate a metal less precious than gold in "Golden wedding" (50 years after a marriage) and diamond in "Diamond wedding"(60 years after a marriage), or “capelli d’argento” (silver hair) where “argento indicated the color.
As for the adjectives “argentato” as in “posate argentate” (silverware ) and “argenteo” as in “capelli argentei” (silver hair), they are not so common in Italian and refer either to the metal (cf. silverware) or to the color (cf. silver hair).
Hope I have explained the correct usage of these words.
All the best,
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Dear Maria,
Thank you for your help with this question. I hope that you will not mind a follow-up question.
Can you please tell me how to indicate the color of silver used as a noun.
For example, can you please tell me how to say the following in Italian:
“My favorite color is silver.” (where silver is a noun and refers to the color of silver – not the metal)
“She likes silver.” (where silver is a noun and refers to the color of silver – not the metal)
Thank you very much.
“My favorite color is silver” (where silver is a noun and refers to the color of silver, not the metal) translates as “Il mio colore preferito è l’argento”, while “She likes silver” (where silver is a noun and refers to the color of silver, not the metal) translates as “Le piace il color argento” or “Lei ama il color argento”.
As you can see, in “Il mio colore preferito è l’argento” there is no need to use the noun “colore” before “argento”, since it is clear that we are talking about the color of silver, whereas in “Le piace il color argento” / “Lei ama il color argento” it is necessary to add “colore” in “il color argento”, for otherwise one could think that the phrase refers to the metal.
In fact, if I said "Le piace l'argento” / “Lei ama l'argento", it would mean that the sentence refers to the metal.
Hope I’ve removed your doubts.