Easy Learning Italian

Using prepositions - Easy Learning Grammar Italian

1  Where they go

  • Prepositions are used in front of nouns and pronouns to show the relationship between the noun or pronoun and the rest of the sentence.
Andiamo a Roma.We’re going to Rome.
Vieni con me.Come with me.
  • In English you can separate a preposition from its noun or pronoun and put it at the end of a question, or at the end of part of a sentence, for example, Who were you talking to?; the people I came with.
  • In Italian prepositions always go in front of another word and never at the end of a question or part of a sentence:
Con chi sei venuto?Who did you come with?
la ragazza alla quale ho dato la chiavethe girl I gave the key to

2  Which preposition to use

  • In English certain adjectives and verbs are always followed by particular prepositions, for example, happy with, afraid of, talk to, smile at. The same is true in Italian.
Sono deluso del voto che ho preso.I’m disappointed with the mark I got.
Andiamo in Italia.We’re going to Italy.
  • Note that when a preposition is used in front of the –ing form in English, a preposition is used in front of the infinitive (the –re form of the verb) in Italian.
È andato via senza salutarci.He went away without saying goodbye to us.
Sono stufo di studiare.I’m fed up of studying.
  • The prepositions used in Italian may not be what you expect, for example,
    the Italian preposition in is used for both the following:
I miei sono in Italia.My parents are in Italy.
I miei vanno in Italia.My parents are going to Italy.
  • You sometimes need to use a preposition in Italian when there is no preposition in English.
Hai bisogno di qualcosa?Do you need anything?
Chiedi a Lidia cosa vuole.Ask Lidia what she wants.
TipWhen you look up a verb in the dictionary, take note of any preposition that is shown with the translation.
congratularsi conto congratulate
dire qualcosa a qualcunoto tell someone something

3  Prepositions that combine with the definite article

  • When the prepositions a, di, da, in and su are followed by the definite articleil, la, i, le and so on, they combine with it to make one word.
 + il+ lo+ la+ l’+ i+ gli+ le
aalalloallaall’aiaglialle
dideldellodelladell’deideglidelle
dadaldallodalladall’daidaglidalle
innelnellonellanell’neineglinelle
susulsullosullasull’suisuglisulle
  • For more information on Articles, see Articles.
Si guardava allo specchio.He was looking at himself in the mirror.
la cima del montethe top of the mountain
Sto dai miei.I live with my parents.
Cos’hai nella tasca?What have you got in your pocket?
I soldi sono sul tavolo.The money’s on the table.
Key points
  • Italian prepositions are always used in front of another word.
  • The preposition used in Italian may not be what you expect.
  • Italian prepositions combine with the definite article to make one word.

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