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Let's say we want to translate the sentence: "That is the most expensive house". Is it right to translate this to: "Quella è la casa più cara"? How can I see the difference in Italian between 'the most expensive' and 'the more expensive'?

  • Welcome to Italian.SE! – Charo Dec 24 '17 at 9:25
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The difference between "more" and "most" in Italian language is translated as the distinction between "comparativo" (comparative) and "superlativo" (superlative); the comparative is always used as a comparison between elements:

"Quella casa è più cara di quell'altra" = "That house is more expensive than that other one"

But in Italian there is also a distinction between "superlativo relativo" (relative superlative) that still implies a comparison between two or more elements, where one "wins" above all the others (I hope that the concept is clear) and "superlativo assoluto" (absolute superlative, its equivalent in English is "very").

An example of the first one is:

E.g. "Quella casa è la più cara del quartiere" = "That house it the most expensive of the neighborhood"

Please take note that you can omit the "comparison" (can be implicit):

E.g. "Quella casa è la più cara" = "That house it the most expensive"

Wherease in the absolute form:

"Quella casa è carissima" (That house is very expensive)

References:

https://it.bab.la/grammatica/italiano/comparativo-e-superlativo
http://www.oneworlditaliano.com/grammatica-italiana/superlativo-italiano.htm

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  • 1
    To complete the answer with reference to the OP's example: while in English “the most expensive” and “the more expensive” imply that the comparison is, respectively, between several and just two houses, in Italian you would use in both cases “la più cara”. – DaG Dec 25 '17 at 13:41

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