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I have a list of intensifiers that I use:

  • molto
  • proprio
  • veramente
  • estremamente
  • davvero
  • addirittura

(Are there any mistakes in the list?)

It's boring to always say 'molto'. So, I like to use different words from this list at different times.

Can I use the above words interchangeably? Or are there uses I'm not aware of?

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    Interchangeably might be overstating the case. They are all intensifiers and they mean more or less the same thing, but they often carry connotations that are not always equal. For example addirittura has a shade of incredulity, while proprio has a subtle hint of precision (as in, this is really like that, I'm not confusing stuff).
    – Denis Nardin
    Sep 7 '16 at 1:54
  • they are NOT interchangeably, although they may be sometimes. What do you mean by intensifiers?
    – mario
    Sep 7 '16 at 6:36
  • @Mario It's like really in my feet are really cold. An intensifier is an adverb used to give emphasis or force.
    – apaderno
    Sep 7 '16 at 6:55
  • John, have you checked these different words on a (monolingual, if possible) dictionary, for starters?
    – DaG
    Sep 7 '16 at 6:59
  • @DaG - I have checked them in a bilingual dictionary. They all seem to share the property of being able to replace 'molto'.
    – John
    Sep 8 '16 at 0:04
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All right, italian here, i'll try to be the most straight and easy as I can.

  • molto just means very much and it is used also as a pronoun, you can answer just with molto to make the other understand that you agree with what he just said.

    You can also use it just like lot of, or as much.

    Per innaffiare serve molta acqua

  • proprio is very different by molto and it is, to make it simple, kinda like an intensifier of what you say near to it. You can also put it with molto, like proprio molto, wich means really a lot.

    To say you are right, but with more incisiveness, you could use proprio

    Hai proprio ragione

  • veramente is basically like proprio, but it's closer to actually in english, and is not like molto. It is used to say proverbial answers like Really?

    Another usage of veramente is when you are not sure of what you heard, because it is strange or not credible. Somebody tells you that exists a man 260 years old, you can answer:

    Ma veramente 250 anni?

  • estremamente is barely used as sostitution of molto because it means at the edge. Composed by estrema = edge and mente = basical ending of italian adverbs.
    It is also used as absolutely.

    Let's say that you put down a perfect argument, someone could answer you

    Questo ragionamento è estremamente corretto

  • davvero is again an intensifier and is barely used as sostitution of molto, it's main usage is basically the same of veramente.
    As veramente it can be used to prove the veracity of an argument.

    Same example of before: somebody tells you that exists a man 260 yars old, you could answer:

    Davvero?

  • addirittura is absolutely different, it is kinda like perfino but it's usage is pretty much restricted to answers which also tend to express a negative hopinion of the speaker. When someone answers you with addirittura it means that he also thinks that you've gone too far from what was needed.

    I'll try to make it simple: your mother asks you to buy two bottles of milk, so you go out and you take them, but you forget how much milk you have to take and you do take five of them. When you will be back home, your italian mother will look badly at you while saying:

    Ne hai comprate cinque? Addirittura!

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    Some of the opinions expressed here are quite personal (just like the English they are expressed in). For instance, while it is true that the first meaning of veramente and davvero is “really”, they are also used as a near-synonym of molto in such sentences as “Sono veramente/davvero felice di vederti”, while their uses in questions are beyond the point of this question.
    – DaG
    Sep 7 '16 at 8:47
  • @DaG Sono veramente/davvero felice di vederti isn't the same as molto. Indeed their meaning is: I am truly happy to see you, while molto would be I am very happy to see you.
    – snailer
    Sep 8 '16 at 9:53
  • I am glad you explain me my own language, snailer. As I already wrote, the literal meaning is “truly”, but since nobody say Sono felice per finta di vederti, that use of davvero/veramente is to strengthen the adjective it is appended to.
    – DaG
    Sep 8 '16 at 10:05
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The adverbs that you listed are not exactly equivalents, even if they can all be used as intensifiers, as you say.

Molto and estremamente, together with tanto, assai, oltremodo, sommamente, straordinariamente and quanto mai have more or less the same meaning, and form with the adjective the "superlativo assoluto". They are the preferred way to give emphasis or force to the meaning of the adjective.

Proprio, veramente, and davvero, but also realmente have a different meaning, and you should use them to say that the adjective applies really, and not necessarily in great measure.

Addirittura has still another meaning, as perfino and nientemeno you should use it to stress the fact that the adjective is applicable even if it could be not credible.

I advice you to check the adverbs on a dictionary and compare their meanings to better understand their use.

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  • It's really a pity that this wealth of adverbs is ignored by many speakers who only rely on assolutamente.
    – egreg
    Sep 7 '16 at 10:17
  • Once source of my confusion was the English word 'really' - it can mean both 'very' and 'truly', so it translates both 'molto' and 'veramente'.
    – John
    Sep 8 '16 at 0:18
  • @egreg: You are absolutely right, this is why I absolutely avoided to add assolutamente to my list.
    – CasaMich
    Sep 8 '16 at 8:01

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