Italian Language Blog

Verbs Followed by the Preposition ‘a’ Posted by on Dec 12, 2009 in Grammar

In my previous article Che or Il Quale I promised you a list of common verbs that are normally followed by the preposition a (to). This preposition is used with the indirect object of verbs such as dare (to give), e.g. Laura ha dato un libro a Giorgio (Laura gave a book to Giorgio). It is important to remember that whilst in English you can omit the preposition ‘to’ and say “Laura gave Giorgio a book”, in Italian you cannot leave out the preposition, you have to either use a or the indirect pronouns (mi, ti, gli, le, ci, vi, a loro. See my recent articles on indirect pronouns Pronomi Personali Indiretti part 1 and Pronomi Personali Indiretti part 2) e.g. Laura gli ha dato un libro (Laura gave him a book). In this sentence gli has the meaning of a lui = to him.

Here is a list of the most common Italian verbs followed by the preposition a, in which the English equivalent either uses a different preposition from ‘to’, or has no preposition at all:

chiedere a qualcuno to ask someone

credere a qualcuno/qualcosa to believe in someone/something

dire a qualcuno to tell someone/to say to someone

giocare a  to play (a game)

insegnare a qualcuno to teach someone

interessarsi a to be interested in

partecipare a to participate in

pensare a qualcosa to think about something

permettere a qualcuno to allow someone

proibire a qualcuno to forbid someone

ricordare a qualcuno to remind someone

rispondere a qualcuno to answer someone

rinunciare a to give up

rubare a to steal from

somigliare/assomigliare a to look like, to resemble

tenere a qualcosa to care about something

ubbidire a to obey

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