As stated in the title. I am not sure why "venite prima possibile" is not correct.

  • Who says venite prima possibile is not correct? It sounds even better than the other version.
    – DaG
    Sep 14 '15 at 7:36
  • It is perfectly acceptable. It means "Come as early as possible". Sep 14 '15 at 9:06
  • Which of the two phrases do you refer to by “it”? Plus, the question was «What is the function of il...»?
    – DaG
    Sep 14 '15 at 9:11
  • 1
    They are both used and correct. Sep 14 '15 at 9:50
  • 1
    Interesting in this regard (in Italian): accademiadellacrusca.it/it/lingua-italiana/…
    – DaG
    Sep 14 '15 at 10:25

"Prima possibile" in "venite prima possibile" is an adverb, while "il prima possibile" in "venite il prima possibile" is something known as "avverbio sostantivato"; you can understand how the two expression are interpreted differently by comparing e.g. the English expression "come quickly" to "come the quickest you can";

When changing an adverb to an "avverbio sostantivato" it's mandatory to prepend, depending on the case, either "il" or "al" (much as in the English expression "come quickly" it's mandatory to prepend the "the" article: "come quickly" -> "come the quickest you can").

So they are both correct, but syntactically "prima possibile" is an adverb, while "il prima possibile" is an "avverbio sostantivato".

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