Easy Learning Italian

Some other common prepositions - Easy Learning Grammar Italian

1  One- word and two-word prepositions

  • As in English, Italian prepositions can be one word or consist of more than one word, for example vicino a (meaning near) and prima di (meaning before).
  • The following are some of the commonest prepositions in Italian:
  • prima di before, until
prima di mebefore me
prima delle settebefore seven o’clock
Non sarà pronto prima delle otto.It won’t be ready until eight o’clock.
TipWhen a preposition includes a or di remember to combine these words with definite articles such as il,la and le.
  • Note that prima di, like many other Italian prepositions, can be used in front
    of an infinitive (the –re form of the verb).
Dobbiamo informarci prima di cominciare.We need to find out before starting or before we start.
  • dopo after
Ci vediamo dopo le vacanze.See you after the holidays.
Dopo aver mandato messaggino ha spento il telefonino.After sending or after she’d sent the text she switched off the phone.
  • Note that dopo di is used with pronouns.
Loro sono arrivati dopo di noi.They arrived after us.
  • For more information on Pronouns, see Pronouns.
  • fino a until, as far as
Resto fino a venerdì.I’m staying until Friday.
Vengo con te fino alla posta.I’ll come with you as far as the post office.
  • Note that Fino a quando? (meaning literally until when) is used to ask How long?
Fino a quando puoi rimanere?How long can you stay?
TipWhen a preposition includes a or di remember to combine these words with definite articles such as il, la and le.
  • fra in, between, among
Torno fra un’ora.I’ll be back in an hour.
Era seduto fra il padre e lo zio.He was sitting between his father and his uncle.
Fra i sopravvissuti c’era anche il pilota.The pilot was among the survivors.
  • Note that fra di is used with pronouns.
Fra di noi ci sono alcuni mancini.There are some left-handers among us.
  • For more information on Pronouns, see Pronouns.
Tipfra poco means in a short time, or soon.
Lo sapremo fra poco.We’ll soon know.
  • tra is an alternative form of fra, and can be used in exactly the same way
tra un’orain an hour
tra pocosoon
tra il padre e lo ziobetween his father and his uncle
tra i feritiamong the injured
  • durante during
durante la notteduring the night
  • con with, to
Ci andrò con lei.I’ll go with her.
Hai parlato con lui?Have you spoken to him?
  • senza without
Esci senza cappotto?Are you going out without a coat?
  • Note that senza di is used with pronouns.
Non posso vivere senza di lui.I can’t live without him.
  • For more information on Pronouns, see Pronouns.
  • contro against
Sono contro la caccia.I’m against hunting.
  • Note that contro di is used with pronouns.
Non ho niente contro di lui.I’ve got nothing against him.
  • davanti a in front of, opposite
Era seduta davanti a me nell’aereo.She was sitting in front of me in the plane.
la casa davanti alla miathe house opposite mine
TipWhen a preposition includes a or di remember to combine these words with definite articles such as il, la and le.
  • dietro behind
dietro la portabehind the door
  • Note that dietro di is used with pronouns.
Sono seduti dietro di me.They’re sitting behind me.
  • For more information on Pronouns, see Pronouns.
  • sotto under, below
Il gatto si è nascosto sotto il letto.The cat hid under the bed.
cinque gradi sotto zerofive degrees below zero
  • sopra over, above, on top of
le donne sopra i sessant’anniwomen over sixty
cento metri sopra il livello del marea hundred metres above sea level
sopra l’armadioon top of the cupboard
  • accanto a next to
Siediti accanto a me.Sit next to me.
TipWhen a preposition includes a or di remember to combine these words with definite articles such as il, la and le.
  • verso towards, around
Correva verso l’uscita.He was running towards the exit.
Arriverò verso le sette.I’ll arrive around seven.
  • Note that verso di is used with pronouns.
Correvano verso di lui.They were running towards him.
  • For more information on Pronouns, see Pronouns.
  • a causa di because of
L’aeroporto è chiuso a causa della nebbia.The airport is closed because of fog.
TipWhen a preposition includes a or di remember to combine these words with definite articles such as il, la and le.
  • malgrado in spite of
Malgrado tutto siamo ancora amici.We’re still friends in spite of everything.

2  Preposition or adverb?

  • In English some words can be used both as adverbs, which describe verbs, and as prepositions, which go in front of nouns and pronouns.
  • The word before is an adverb in the sentence We’ve met before and a preposition in the phrase before dinner.
  • For more information on Adverbs, see Adverbs.
  • In Italian you don’t usually use exactly the same word as both an adverb and
    a preposition:
  • prima and davanti are adverbs
Perché non me l’hai detto prima?Why didn’t you tell me before?
la casa davantithe house opposite.
  • prima di and davanti a are prepositions
Ne ho bisogno prima di giovedì.I need it before Thursday.
Ero seduto davanti a lui a cena.I was sitting opposite him at dinner.
Key points
  • dopo, senza, fra, dietro, contro, verso are used without di, except when followed by a pronoun.
  • Italian prepositions often have di or a as their second element; Italian adverbs are not followed by di or a.

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