Easy Learning Italian

Prepositions after verbs - Easy Learning Grammar Italian

  • English verbs are often followed by prepositions, for example, I’m relying on you, They’ll write to him, He was accused of murder.
  • The same is true of Italian verbs, which are often followed by prepositions.
  • entrare in to go into
Siamo entrati in aula.We went into the classroom.
  • As in English, Italian verbs can be followed by two prepositions.
parlare a qualcuno di qualcosato talk to someone about something
  • With some verbs the Italian preposition may not be the one you would expect. For example, to in English is not always a in Italian, di is not always translated by of and so forth. The most important ones of these are shown in the examples on the following pages.
  • For more information on Verbs used with a preposition and the infinitive, see The Infinitive.
TipWhen you learn a new verb, check if there’s a preposition that goes with it, and learn that too.

1  Verbs followed by a

  • a is used with the indirect object of verbs such as dire (meaning to say) and dare (meaning to give).
dare qualcosa a qualcunoto give something to someone
dire qualcosa a qualcunoto say something to someone
mandare qualcosa a qualcunoto send something to someone
scrivere qualcosa a qualcunoto write something to someone
mostrare qualcosa a qualcunoto show something to someone
TipIn English you can say to give someone something. In Italian you cannot leave out the preposition – you have to use a with the person who is the indirect object.
  • Here are some verbs taking a in Italian when you might not expect it, since the English equivalent either does not have the preposition to or has no preposition at all:
arrivare a (una città)to arrive at (a town)
avvicinarsi a qualcunoto approach someone
chiedere qualcosa a qualcunoto ask someone for something
far male a qualcunoto hurt someone
giocare a qualcosato play something (game/sport)
insegnare qualcosa a qualcunoto teach somebody something
partecipare a qualcosato take part in something
rispondere a qualcunoto answer someone
rivolgersi a qualcunoto ask someone
somigliare a qualcunoto look like someone
permettere a qualcuno di fare qualcosato allow someone to do something
proibire a qualcuno di fare qualcosato forbid someone to do something
rubare qualcosa a qualcunoto steal something from someone
ubbidire a qualcunoto obey someone
Chiedi a Lidia come si chiama il suo cane.Ask Lidia what her dog’s called.
Quando arrivi a Londra?When do you arrive in London?
Parteciperai alla gara?Are you going to take part in the competition?
Non permette a Luca di uscire.She doesn’t allow Luca to go out.
  • For verbs such as piacere, mancare and rincrescere, see Verbal idioms on Verbal Idioms.
TipRemember that you often have to use a preposition with an Italian verb when there is no preposition in English.

2  Verbs followed by di

  • Here are some verbs taking di in Italian when the English verb is not followed by of:
accorgersi di qualcosato realize something
aver bisogno di qualcosato need something
aver voglia di qualcosato want something
discutere di qualcosato discuss something
fidarsi di qualcosa/qualcunoto trust something/someone
intendersi di qualcosato know about something
interessarsi di qualcosato be interested in something
lamentarsi di qualcosato complain about something
ricordarsi di qualcosa/qualcunoto remember something/someone
ridere di qualcosa/qualcunoto laugh at something/someone
stufarsi di qualcosa/qualcunoto get fed up with something/someone
stupirsi di qualcosato be amazed by something
trattare di qualcosato be about something
vantarsi di qualcosato boast about something
Non mi fido di lui.I don’t trust him.
Ho bisogno di soldi.I need money.
Discutono spesso di politica.They often discuss politics.
Mi sono stufato di loro.I got fed up with them.

3  Verbs followed by da

  • Here are some verbs taking da in Italian when the English verb is not followed
    by from:
dipendere da qualcosa/qualcunoto depend on something/someone
giudicare da qualcosato judge by something
scendere da qualcosato get off something (bus, train, plane)
sporgersi da qualcosato lean out of something
Dipende dal tempo.It depends on the weather.

4  Verbs that are followed by a preposition in English but not in Italian

  • Although the English verb is followed by a preposition, you don’t use a preposition with the following Italian verbs:
guardare qualcosa/qualcunoto look at something/someone
ascoltare qualcosa/qualcunoto listen to something/someone
cercare qualcosa/qualcunoto look for something/someone
chiedere qualcosato ask for something
aspettare qualcosa/qualcunoto wait for something/someone
pagare qualcosato pay for something
Guarda la sua faccia.Look at his face.
Mi stai ascoltando?Are you listening to me?
Sto cercando la chiave.I’m looking for my key.
Ha chiesto qualcosa da mangiare.He asked for something to eat.
Aspettami!Wait for me!
Ho già pagato il biglietto.I’ve already paid for my ticket.
Key points
  • Many Italian verbs are not followed by the preposition you would expect.
  • There can be a preposition with a verb in Italian, but not in English, and vice versa.

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