"Quanto" and "quanta" are singular and used in phrases where who speaks is referring to uncountable nouns, and so translated in "much".
"Quanti" and "Quante" are plural and used in phrases where who speaks is referring to countable nouns, and so translated in "many".
What about this:
"Quanta gente c'era alla festa?" since "quanta" is singular, who is speaking is not specifically asking for the actual number of people. Nonetheless, "gente"="people" and "people" is a countable noun, the correct translation is "How many people were at the party?".
The same translation goes for "Quante persone c'erano alla festa?", but in this case, since "quante" is plural, who is speaking wants to know the actual number of people. So, two meanings, one translation... how can one tell the difference? No idea! :D Maybe the first question can be translated in a different way?
Okay, but the questions remains: when this is posed as a query, and in the absence of more context, how can one tell whether it means "how many" or "how much"?
It is English that determines whether you will translate as "how many" or "how much".
Italian uses quanto/quanta/quanti/ quante and these must agree in gender and number with the noun. It doesn't distinguish as English does between "much" and "many".
If the noun is uncountable (e.g.water/salt/ air) in English use "how much" Quanto zucchero vuole? = How much sugar does he want? If the noun is countable then in English we use "how many". Quanti cavalli vuole? = How many horses does he want?
I think that if it was "yes, but how many" the italian phrase would be "Sì, ma quanti"
Mukkapazza, great answer, as always, but I think most people will find it clearer to understand that 'quanto' (or quanta) generally means 'how much'... e.g. quanto costa (how much is it (singular)) or 'quanto costano' (how much are they (plural)) whereas Quanti (and quante) always mean 'how many.'
of course 'quanta gente' is one of those oddities, which we think of as plural (as in 'the people are' (not 'the people is') whereas I believe it is thought of as singular, in Italian. Please correct me if I'm wrong!
Quanto can change according to gender and number:
Quanta gente? How many people?
Quanto tempo? How much time?
Quante donne? How many women?
Quanti uomini? How many men?
But how can we tell the difference between "how many" and "how much" with no subject?
I understand that "how many" involves plurality and would be "quanti" or "quante"
Okay I dont have a problem with this particular sentence but this lesson. Duolingo didnt teach me any of the words before testing me and I cant even click on them for the translation. /:
That's how you learn most things in Duolingo, because that is their teaching method. There is always a first time usage of every word that you haven't seen before.
Several previous comments are about quanto etc. as an adjective when agreement with gender and number is essential. This question was in a section about adverbs. When quanto is used as an adverb it does not change to agree with anything. Both "how many" and "how much" are correct translations since we have no context. Just saying.
If you remember the phrase 'quanto costa' (how much does it cost) - 'quanto' is a familiar way to say 'how much'.
The word for 'How' is simply 'Come' (which also means 'like' )
Grazie, Maddy! I'll be sure to keep that in mind :) So, would "Yes, but how?" be "Si, ma come?"
I'm not a native speaker, but I think that would be exactly what I'd say too. "Sì. ma come?" just as you've written :)
One other phrase springs to mind re the original post. Italians also use 'Quanto è ?' for 'How much is it?'
Thanks Maddy :) Yeah "Quanto è?" sounds like what you'd say in general conversation. Also, makes it a lot easier to remember "Quanto" = "How much".
Thanks again :)
Any body else getting an error with Si.?? Twice in the past few sentences, I've written them correct. ex: This one I wrote, Si, ma quanto? Each time it says... Almost Correct! And it highlights the Si. Why? I've spelled it right, it's been the 1st word, and I even capitalized the Beginning of it. So Why mark it as ... Not quite right?
Sì has an accent on the i. It's hard to see the accent in this font but it is the same accent as on è. That's why you are getting it wrong. I think si (without the accent) means something else.
I wrote it wrong but got two correct answers: Si, pero Quanta or Si ma Quanto WHY is this quanta or quanto
Quanto and quanta are both acceptable because in this sentence we don't know the context. In a real life conversation you would know what they are asking "how much?" about and use quanto if it's a masculine noun and quanta if it's a feminine noun.
Ie. "Io voglio del riso" "Sì, ma quanto?" (quanto because the second person is still talking about "il riso")
In intalian, as in other latin languages there's no difference is you are talking about thing or person, ot does not make difference is you are talking about how many or how much when you say quanto, quanti, quanta... etc Am i wrong?