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Preposizioni Articolate – part 1 Posted by on Jan 20, 2012 in Grammar

A preposition is a word that describes a relationship between other words in a sentence. The most common Italian preposizioni are, in alphabetical order: a (to, at, in), con (with), da (from, by, since, to, at), di (of, than, about), in (in, inside, to, within, at), per (for, to, by), su (on, in, about), tra/fra (between, amongst). These nine words are called preposizioni semplici (simple prepositions). Some of them, when preceding the definite article ‘the’ (il, lo, la, l’, i, gli, le), always combine together to become preposizioni articolate (articulated prepositions). Let’s have a look at how to form them by studying some examples of their usage:

A (to, at, in):

a + il = al e.g.: Mario è andato al mare (Mario went to the sea)

a + lo = allo e.g.: Laura si guarda allo specchio (Laura is looking at herself in the mirror)

a + la = alla e.g.: hanno bussato alla porta (they have knocked at the door)

a + l’ = all’ e.g.: hanno portato Mario all’ospedale (they’ve taken Mario to the hospital)

a + i = ai e.g.: hai dato da mangiare ai gatti? (have you fed the cats? Lit.: have you given food to the cats?)

a + gli = agli e.g.: il professore ha spiegato il teorema di Pitagora agli studenti (the teacher explained Pythagoras’s theorem to the students)

a + le = alle e.g.: stamattina mi sono alzata alle 7 (this morning I got up at [the] 7 o’clock)

Con (with) – this preposition only combines with two articles, il and i:

con + il = col e.g.: Mario è uscito col cane (Mario went out with the dog)

con + i = coi e.g.: i carciofi stanno bene coi piselli (artichokes go well with [the] peas)

Da (from, by, since, to, at):

da + il = dal e.g.: Mario è andato dal dottore (Mario went to the doctor)

da + lo = dallo e.g.: hai preso la tua sciarpa dallo zaino? (have you taken your scarf from the rucksack?)

da + la = dalla e.g.: sono appena ritornata dalla banca (I’ve just come back from the bank)

da + l’ = dall’ e.g.: è dall’una che non prendo un caffè (I haven’t had a coffee since [the] one o’clock)

da + i = dai e.g.: a Natale sono stata dai miei (I spent Christmas at [the] my parent’s [house])

da + gli = dagli e.g.: Cortona è stata fondata dagli Etruschi (Cortona was founded by the Etruscans)

da + le = dalle e.g.: i negozi sono aperti dalle 9 a mezzogiorno e mezzo (the shops are open from [the] 9 to half past 12)

Find out more in Part 2

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  1. jam:

    wbr adham

  2. jimmy:

    Hi Serena,

    I’ve been trying to figure out the when to use ‘a’ and when to use ‘da’. Do you know a site that explains it comprehensively?

    Or is there a simple explanation that i’m missing/

    • Serena:

      @jimmy Salve Jimmy, scusa per il ritardo.

      The main confusion between ‘a’ and ‘da’ can take place with verbs of movement such as ‘andare’, where both prepositions are used to mean ‘to’. This is the rule for this situation: with places we use the preposition ‘a’, e.g. ‘vado a Roma’ (I go to Rome), ‘vado al mercato’ (I go to the market), ‘vado a casa di Giovanni’ (I go to Giovanni’s house). With people we use the preposition ‘da’, e.g. ‘vado dal fruttivendolo’ (I go to the greengrocer’s), ‘vado da Giovanni'(I go to Giovanni’s), ‘vado dai miei’ (I go to my parents’).

      Spero di essere stata chiara

      Saluti da Serena

  3. Italiano:


  4. Lexi:

    Thank you soooo much!<3

    • Serena:

      @Lexi Non c’è di che!
      Saluti da Serena

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