Italian Comparatives: using ‘che’ or ‘di’

What’s a ‘comparative’ in Italian?

The Italian comparatives express how to say more then, less than, the same as.

We call this comparativo di maggioranza: 

  • La casa di Maria è più grande di quella di Lucia – Maria’s house is bigger than Lucia’s 

 We call this comparativo di minoranza:  

  • La casa di Lucia è meno grande di quella di Maria – Lucia’s house is less big than Maria’s

We call this comparativo di uguaglianza:

  • La casa di Maria è tanto grande come quella di Lisa – Lucia’s house is as big as Maria’s 

In today’s post, I will focus on the use of the  term of comparison ‘than‘, which in Italian can take two different forms: di or che.

What does it mean? 

It means that there are two ways to say ‘more than‘ in Italian: 

  • più … di, or
  • più …che 

and there two ways to say less than in Italian:

  • meno … di, or
  • meno … che

So, how do you know whether the term of comparison you need to use is “che” or “di”? 

You need to follow these rules…

When to use ‘di’

We use “di” when we compare two different entities, or, in other words, two different things or people:

ItalianEnglishComparison
Milano è più cara di VeneziaMilan is more expensive than VeniceMilan/Venice
Luisa è meno alta di CarloLuisa is less tall than CarloLuisa/Carlo
La cucina italiana è migliore della cucina tedescaItalian food is better than German foodItalian cuisine/German cuisine

When to use ‘che’

We use “che” when describing one entity with two different adjectives, nouns, or verbs:

StructureItalianEnglish
Adjective + AdjectiveLa città è più sporca che bella.The city is dirtier than beautiful.
Verb + VerbStudiare latino è più difficile che studiare italiano.Learning Latin is more complicated than learning Italian.
Noun + NounA Napoli ci sono più chiese che persone.In Naples, there are more churches than people.
Preposition + Noun/PronounVivere a Milano è meno caro che a New York.Living in Milan is less expensive than living in New York City.

About the Author

Serena Capilli

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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Ciao, I'm Serena!

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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