I have learnt French but not much Italian. In French when you have the phrase "the only/the most/the best which..." the relative clause is in the subjunctive.

For example, "the best book I've read" would be "le meilleur livre que j'aie lu". This is in the subjunctive.

Is it not the case in Italian? Is the correct translation "il miglior libro che ho letto"?

  • 1
    Not a full answer. To my ear, “il miglior libro che ho letto” is a matter-of-fact statement, so indicative mood. Not that the subjunctive would be wrong, of course. If I add “mai”, the subjunctive becomes, at least to my ear, mandatory: “il miglior libro che abbia mai letto”.
    – egreg
    Commented Jan 22 at 10:33
  • I find acceptable also Il miglior libro che ho mai letto. although by default I use the subjunctive.
    – apaderno
    Commented Mar 15 at 17:20

1 Answer 1


The correct phrase is actually with conjunctive, but it is often misspelled by Italians themselves. The correct translation is il miglior libro che abbia mai letto, abbia being in conjunctive, just like in French.

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