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Combining Prepositions With Articles – Part 5. Posted by on Dec 14, 2016 in Grammar

In today’s exercise, we’re going to focus on combining the Italian definite articles il, lo, la, i, gli, and le (the) with the prepositionsu(on, in, about).

We’ll begin by reviewing how we construct these preposizioni articolate (preposition/article combinations). This will be followed by an exercise that requires you to fill in the blanks in the Italian text. You’ll find the answers hidden at the end of the blog.

il = masculine singular, e.g. il tavolo. Combined with ‘su‘ = sul

lo = masculine singular, used before ‘s’ plus a consonant, ‘z’, or a vowel, e.g. lo specchio, lo zaino. N.B. lo becomes l’ before a vowel, e.g. l’albero. Combined with su= sullo or sull

la = feminine singular, e.g. la sedia. Combined with ‘su‘ = sulla. N.B. la becomes l’ before a vowel, e.g. l’erba. Combined with ‘su‘ = sull

i = masculine plural, e.g. i tavoli. Combined with ‘su‘ = sui

gli = masculine plural, used before ‘s’ plus a consonant, ‘z’, or a vowel e.g. gli specchi, gli zaini, gli alberi. Combined with ‘su‘ = sugli

le = feminine plural, e.g. le sedie, le erbe. Combined with ‘su‘ = sulle

Guarda quanti cachi maturi ci sono ___ albero della Dina! Photo by Geoff.

Exercise

Now fill in the gap in the Italian sentences with the correct preposizione articolata:

The book is on the bottom shelf
Il libro è ___ scaffale in basso

“Have you seen my glasses, by any chance?” “They’re on the chest of drawers in mum’s bedroom”
“Hai mica visto i miei occhiali?” “Sono ___ comò in camera di mamma”

Shall we go for a bike ride on Lucca city walls?
Andiamo a fare un giro in bici ___ mura di Lucca?

In today’s newspaper there’s an article about medicinal herbs
___ giornale di oggi c’è un articolo ___ erbe medicinali

Look how many ripe persimmons there are on Dina’s tree
Guarda quanti cachi maturi ci sono ___ albero della Dina!

There’s snow on the mountains this morning
C’è la neve ___ monti stamattina

“Where is the torch?” “I’ve put it on the top of the rucksack”
“Dov’è la torcia?” “L’ho appoggiata ___ zaino”

Bella likes to sleep on Geoff’s chair
A Bella piace dormire ___ sedia di Geoff

I like walking barefoot on grass
Mi piace camminare a piedi nudi ___ erba

Do you put Parmigiano or pecorino on Amatriciana spaghetti?
Ci metti il Parmigiano o il pecorino ___ spaghetti all’Amatriciana?

You left the key in the door
Hai lasciato la chiave ___ porta

Damn, I’ve spilt some coffee on my trousers!
Accidenti, m
i sono versato del caffè ___ pantaloni!

Click here to reveal the answers

The book is on the bottom shelf
Il libro è sullo scaffale in basso

“Have you seen my glasses, by any chance?” “They’re on the chest of drawers in mum’s bedroom”
“Hai mica visto i miei occhiali?” “Sono sul comò in camera di mamma”

Shall we go for a bike ride on Lucca city walls?
Andiamo a fare un giro in bici sulle mura di Lucca?

In today’s newspaper there’s an article about medicinal herbs
Sul giornale di oggi c’è un articolo sulle erbe medicinali

Look how many ripe persimmons there are on Dina’s tree
Guarda quanti cachi maturi ci sono sull’albero della Dina!

There’s snow on the mountains this morning
C’è la neve sui monti stamattina

“Where is the torch?” “I’ve put it on the top of the rucksack”
“Dov’è la torcia?” “L’ho appoggiata sullo zaino”

Bella likes to sleep on Geoff’s chair
A Bella piace dormire sulla sedia di Geoff

I like walking barefoot on grass
Mi piace camminare a piedi nudi sull’erba

Do you put Parmigiano or pecorino on Amatriciana spaghetti?
Ci metti il Parmigiano o il pecorino sugli spaghetti all’Amatriciana?

You left the key in the door
Hai lasciato la chiave sulla porta

Damn, I’ve spilt some coffee on my trousers!
Accidenti, mi sono versato del caffè sui pantaloni!

Any questions? Feel free to leave a comment.

P.S. If you’re browser or app doesn’t allow you to see the answers let me know and I’ll post them in the comments section.

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Comments:

  1. Gordon Tassi:

    When would you use nell instead sull, or their variants, for the prepositional phrase?

    • Serena:

      @Gordon Tassi Salve Gordon!
      ‘Nel’ comes from ‘in’ and means ‘in, inside, into’, and occasionaly ‘to’ (for countries).
      ‘Sul’ comes from ‘su’ and means ‘on, on the top of’ and occasionally ‘about’ (for topics).
      There are some cases in which Italian and English have a different point of view! We say ‘stampato/scritto sul giornale’, while in English you use ‘printed/written in the newspaper’. But it’s impossible to list all the cases in which Italian and English don’t match. You’ll have to learn them as you come across them … or keep making a mistake as I normally do!
      Saluti da Serena

  2. Victor Valda:

    Perchè usa sulle nella frase: Andiamo a fare un giro in bici sulle mura di Lucca?
    Mi sembra mura è singulare e dovrebbe essere sulla.

    • Serena:

      @Victor Valda Salve Victor! ‘le mura’ (feminine plural) are the city walls, while il muro (masculine singular), and i muri (masculine plural) are normal walls.
      Saluti da Serena

  3. Gianna Shaw:

    Could you please clarify the following:
    Andiamo a fare in giro in bici ‘sulle mura’ di Luca?
    Should it not be ‘sui muri’ …. sing. sul muro?
    ALSO –
    Hai lasciato la chiave sulla porta.
    Literally, you’ve left the key ‘on’ the door rather than
    Hai lasciato la chiave ‘nella’ porta – you’ve left the key in the door?
    Grazie

    • Serena:

      @Gianna Shaw Salve Gianna, scusa per il ritardo.
      ‘Muro-muri’ (masculine singular and plural) are normal walls. ‘Le mura’ (feminine plural) are fortification walls, such as the town or castle walls.
      ‘Hai lasciato la chiave sulla porta’ in Italian we use the preposition ‘su’ (on), while the English language uses the preposition ‘in’. We try not to do literal trnslations.
      Saluti da Serena


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