Grammar Lesson 67:

Italian numbers: an overview

All words expressing numbers are called numerals. There are four kinds of numerals in Italian:
- Cardinali (cardinals), which indicate the amount of something, such as uno, due, tre … (one, two, three …). They can function as nouns, pronouns, and adjectives.
For example:

- Vorrei ordinare cinque pizze / I'd like to order five pizzas —> adj.
- Il numero cinque mi porta fortuna / Five is my lucky number —> noun
- Quanti cappelli hai? Cinque / How many hats do you have? Five —> pronoun
- Ordinali (ordinals), which indicate the position of a noun in an ordered list, such as primo, secondo, terzo (first, second, third). They can function as adjectives and nouns.
For example:

- Il secondo bicchiere di vino mi ha steso / The second glass of wine knocked me out —> adj.
- Anna porta la terza / Anna wears the C cup —> noun
- Distributivi (distributives), which express in numbers how a group of persons, animals or things is divided. They function as adjectives.
For example:
Entrarono nella stanza a due a due / They entered the room by twos
Collettivi (collectives), such as paio, coppia, dozzina (a pair, a couple, a dozen). They function as adjectives.
For example:

Ho mangiato un paio di uova / I ate a couple of eggs
- Moltiplicativi (multipliers), which indicate the number of times something is to be multiplied, such as doppio, triplo, quadruplo … (double, three times the … , twice the …).
For example:

Marco adesso guadagna il doppio di quanto prendeva prima / Marco now earns double his previous wage
- Frazionari (fractional numerals), which indicate partitions of a unit and are formed by the combination of a cardinal number describing the part (numerator) and of an ordinal number describing the total (denominator).

- Un quarto corrisponde a 1/4 / A quarter equals 1/4
- Marco adesso guadagna la metà di quanto prendeva prima / Marco now earns half of his previous wage

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