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ITALIAN SIMPLE PREPOSITIONS "Preposizioni Semplici"

This is by no means an all encompassing lesson on prepositions. It is a good basis from which to start however. At the bottom of this page you will find resources which are available where you can learn more on this subject.

In their book "English Grammar for Students of Italian" Sergio Adorni and Karen Primorac say the following about prepositions; "A preposition is a word that shows the relationship of one word (usually a verb, a noun or pronoun) to another word in the sentence." This makes them incredibly valuable in properly communicating the thoughts which we wish to convey.

The following is a list of some common Italian simple prepositions (Preposizioni Semplici)

italiano

di
a
da
in
su
con
per
tra
fra
inglese

of
at/to/in
from/by
in/into
on/onto/over/above
with
for
between/among
between/among
esempi

La penna è di Giulia.
Noi andremo a Roma domani.
Sono ritornato da Roma.
Loro sono in America.
Lei è su un cavallo.
Il cane è con Roberto.
Questo cibo è per mio padre.
Il dizionario è tra due libri.
Il ragazzo è fra i suoi fratelli.

While the examples above are very similar to the way we would use those prepositions in English it is important to realize that in Italian, prepositions may often be used in ways we would never use those particular words. For example;

Vado a Roma.
Vado in Italia
Vado da Roberto
Penso di capire.
I am going to Rome.
I am going to Italy.
I am going to Robert's place.
I thnk I understand.

There are various rules which govern the use of these prepositions in different circumstances. Too many to cover here. That is why I said that this is not an all encompassing lesson on this page alone. However, before you understand the rules you need to learn the words and how they may be used in ways we can easily grasp. We will look more into these other circumstances as we continue to study Italian together.

One way in which Italian prepositions differ from those in English is how they work with definite articles. In English, the definite article usually simply follows the preposition such as in "on the table" or "in the box". In Italian, when the preposition is followed by a definite article they usually combine the two words to create the preposizione articolata such as in "sul tavolo" or "nella scatola".

The following is a common table found in many textbooks illustrating how you combine an Italian simple prepositions with a definite article to form a preposizione articolata



di
a
da
in
su
con
IL

del
al
dal
nel
sul
col
LO / L'

dello / dell'
allo / all'
dallo / dall'
nello / nell'
sullo / sull'
collo / coll'
LA/L'

della / dell'
alla / all'
dalla / dall'
nella / nell'
sulla / sull'
colla / coll'
I

dei
ai
dai
nei
sui
coi
GLI

degli
agli
dagli
negli
sugli
cogli
LE

delle
alle
dalle
nelle
sulle
colle

The preposizione articolata is governed by the same rules of gender and number as the article that they were partially derived from. For instance if you wanted to say on "il tavolo" (masculine, singular) you would now have to say "sul tavolo" (masculine, singular) and not "sulla tavolo" (which does not agree because it is feminine) or sugli tavolo" (which does not agree because it is plural).



You can learn more about simple prepositions in Italian on pages 139 - 141 of the book "English Grammar for Students of Italian" by Sergio Adorni and Karen Primorac, copyright 1995. If you do not own this book, don't worry, it is not mandatory that you do. However, it can be very useful in a lot of ways and if you would like to know more about this book and where to buy it, click on the graphic link to the right or simply go to our online bookstore. You can learn more about simple prepositions in Italian on pages 52 - 55 (page #'s may vary as I have an older edition) of "Ciao", copyright 1986. If you do not own this book, don't worry, it is not mandatory that you do. However, it can be very useful in a lot of ways and if you would like to know more about this book and where to buy it, click on the graphic link to the right or simply go to our online bookstore. You can learn more about simple prepositions in Italian on pages 123 - 126 of "Italian Pronouns and Prepositions" by Daniela Bobetti, copyright 1976. If you do not own this book, don't worry, it is not mandatory that you do. However, it can be very useful in a lot of ways and if you would like to know more about this book and where to buy it, click on the graphic link to the right or simply go to our online bookstore.
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