Italian Prepositions (di, a, da, in, con, su, per, tra, fra)

What preposition should I use with this verb? When should I use this preposition? What’s a preposition? What’s the most appropriate one in this situation? These questions torment every Italian learner! In this lesson you’ll learn all Italian prepositions and how to use them!

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Italian Simple Prepositions

The Italian prepositions are: DI, A, DA, IN, CON, SU, PER, TRA, FRA.

Let’s try to understand when and how to use them!

DI 

indicates:

  • possession La valigia è di Giada[Giada’s suitcase]
  • material Il bicchiere è di vetro[A glass made of glass]
  • topic Il libro è di geografia[The geography book]
  • manner → Al mattino vado sempre di fretta[I am always in a hurry in the morning]
  • origin, provenance → Io sono di Bari, mentre Carlo è di Roma[I am from Bari, while Carlo is from Rome]

 

A

indicates:

  • state in a place  → Francesco è a casa[Francesco is at home]
  • movement to a place (with cities) → Domani vado a Milano per lavoro. [Tomorrow I’ll go to Milan to work]
  • target (= something or someone to which/whom the action is addresses) → Racconto il segreto a Maria[I am telling Maria the secret]
  • time (= with months and hours) → A febbraio vado sempre in montagna. [In February I always go to the mountains]

 

DA

indicates:

  • movement from a place (= a place from which I arrive) → Siamo appena tornati da Pisa[We have just come back from Pisa]
  • movement to a person (= with people!) → Nel pomeriggio ho un appuntamento dal dentista[I have an appointment with my dentist this afternoon]
  • time (= with actions that began in the past and are still going on when we speak) → Vivo in questa casa da 5 anni[I’ve been living in this house for 5 years]
  • agent (= in passive sentences, the person who carries out the action) → Questo libro è stato scritto da uno scrittore famoso[This book was written by a famous writer]
  • goal (= reason why something is created) → Questa è una macchina da scrivere[This is a typewriter]

 

IN

indicates:

  • state in a place Ti sto aspettando in macchina. [I am waiting for you in the car]
  • movement to a place (= with nations and regions) → Questa estate vado in Spagna con la mia famiglia. [This summer I’ll go to Spain with my family]
  • feelings → Mi sento in colpa per non averlo aiutato con quel lavoro. [I feel guilty because I didn’t help him with that job]
  • means of transport Andiamo a Torino in aereo[We go to Turin by airplane]
  • time (= with seasons and day moments) → In primavera ci sono molti fiori. [I spring there are many flowers]

 

CON

indicates:

  • company (= person with whom we do something) → Vado in Brasile con Biagio[I am going to Brazil with Biagio]
  • instrument with which we do something → Scriviamo con la penna[We write with the pen]

 

SU

indicates:

  • position of something (or someone) on something else (or someone else) → Il libro è sul tavolo[The book is on the table]
  • topic (except for the verb “parlare”, which requires the preposition “di”!) Scrivo un articolo sulla guerra in Siria[I am writing an article about the war in Syria]

 

PER

indicates:

  • movement to a place (= a place we cross to reach another place) → Vado a Milano passando per Roma[I go to Milan by way of Rome]
  • time duration → Ha fatto la cantante per 3 anni[I was a singer for 3 years]
  • cause Piango per il dolore[I cry because of the pain]

 

TRA, FRA

are synonyms and indicate:

  • the position of something or someone between 2 or more people or things → Casa mia è tra la chiesa e la farmacia. [My house is between the church and the pharmacy]
  • alternative Per la cena di stasera puoi scegliere tra carne o pesce[For tonight dinner you can choose between fish and meat]
  • relationship (= with people) → Tra Marco e Teresa c’è grande amore. [There is a great love between Marco and Teresa]
  • time (= with regard to the future, time between the moment I speak and the event) → Tra due mesi partono per Londra. [They’ll leave for London in two months]

 

Examples of state in place with IN and A:

a casa, a scuola, a lavoro

in macchina, in autobus, nel supermercato, nel cinema, in farmacia, in ospedale

Now that you’ve learned Italian simple prepositions, have a look at our lesson on ARTICULATED PREPOSITIONS or try our PREPOSITIONS TEST!

 

Let’s see if you’ve mastered the contents of this class. Have a go at completing the exercises!

 

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