I have recently heard the following sentence:

Voglio qualcosa di nuovo.

Is "qualcosa nuovo" (without the preposition di) wrong?

  • There is a rare adverbial use of "qualcosa" with the meaning of "a little" in the way you propose, as you can see from this example by Manzoni given at Grande dizionario della lingua italiana: "Da qui la vista spazia per pro­spetti più o meno estesi, ma ricchi sempre e sempre qual­cosa nuovi".
    – Charo
    Aug 28 '19 at 9:44
  • @Charo I think it's a different use: the OP is trying to decline the adjective in concordance with the pronoun, whereas in Manzoni's example "qualcosa" is simply an adverb between name (prospetti) and adjective (nuovi). I'd add that probably a lot of Italian speaking people nowadays (me for sure) wouldn't completely understand that phrase without a dictionary: definitely an archaic use :) Aug 28 '19 at 9:59
  • @OldManofAran: Yes, I agree with you: I've said that is rare and that is an adverbial use but, technically, the answer to the question "Is 'qualcosa + [adjective]' wrong?" is no.
    – Charo
    Aug 28 '19 at 13:15

Yes, you need to put the preposition, e.g. Treccani:

  1. [per indicare in modo indeterminato una o alcune cose, anche con la prep. di seguita da un agg.: gli manca qualcosa per riuscire; qualcosa di bello] ≈ qualche (o taluna) cosa....

You may indeed say "qualche cosa nuova", but in this case "cosa" is a name.


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