How to use Italian prepositions

If you don’t know how to use Italian prepositions and want to clarify your understanding once and for all, have a look at our Italian prepositions list below!

First of all, if you are wondering what prepositions are, they are short words used to link different parts of a sentence or clause. They are invariable and never changing and usually present a big problem for most foreign students, including those who have studied  Italian for a long time and have an advanced Italian level.Italian prepositions

In this post we have tried to summarise the most important Italian preposition usages, although there are many exceptions to these rules. So our recommendation is:  keep calm and relax!! If you study the grammar, do the exercises and talk or listen to native Italian speakers, we are sure you will pick them up eventually.

How to use Italian prepositions

The Italian prepositions are: di, a, da, in, con, su, per, tra, fra.

‘di’

  • To say where someone is from.

Carlo è di Roma = Carlo is from Rome

  • To indicate possession.

Questo è il libro di Maria = This is Maria’s book*          

*In Italian we don’t have the Saxon genitive. The literal translation of the sentence would be  ‘this is the book of Maria’

  • To talk about the different parts of the day.

Di mattina lavoro e di pomeriggio studio = In the morning I work and in the afternoon I study

  • To describe an object and say what it consists of.

È un tavolo di plastica = It’s a plastic table

‘a’

  • To indicate location and direction when referring to cities, small islands and some generic places (‘cinema’, ‘teatro’, ‘scuola’, ‘parco’, etc).

Luisa vive a Milano =  Luisa lives in Milan (location)

Oggi Luisa va a Milano = Today Luisa is going to Milan (direction)

  • To talk about a specific time.

Ci vediamo a mezzogiorno = See you at noon

  • To indicate the recipient of an action.

Sto scrivendo un messaggio a Marco = I’m writing a messagge to Marco

‘da’

  • To indicate a starting point when there is movement (In this case the destination is indicated with the preposition ‘a’).

Il treno parte da Torino e arriva a Milano = The trains goes from Turin to Milan

  • To talk about a time period that started in the past and continues in the present.

Marta suona la chitarra da 10 anni = Marta has been playing the guitar for 10 years

  • To indicate movement towards people.

Vado da Francesco = I go to Francesco’s house

‘in’

  • To indicate location and direction when referring to large areas, like countries and big islands, or some other generic places (‘ufficio’, ‘palestra’, ‘ospedale’, ‘pizzeria’, etc).

Luisa vive in Spagna =  Luisa lives in Spain (location)

Oggi Luisa va in Spagna = Today Luisa is going to Spain (direction)

  • To talk about means of transport.

Vai in autobus o in macchina? = Are you going by bus or by car?

  • To talk about periods of the year (months, seasons, etc).

In inverno fa freddo = The weather is cold in/during the winter

Italian prepositions list

‘con’

  • To talk about being accompanied by another person or thing.

Esco tutti i giorni con il mio fidanzato = I go out with my boyfriend every day

  • To indicate an instrument used to do something.

Vi faccio una foto con il mio cellulare = I’m going to take a picture of you with my mobile

  • To talk about means of transport (different from the preposition IN -see above-, if we use the preposition ‘con’ to talk about means of transport we add the articles).

Vai con l’autobus o con la macchina? = Are you going by bus or by car?

‘su’

  • To talk about someone or something’s location, physically in contact and supported by a surface.

Le chiavi sono su quel tavolo = The keys are on that table

‘per’

  • To indicate a length of time in the past or in the future.

Rosa ha vissuto a New York per 5 anni = Rosa has lived in New York for 5 years (she is not living there anymore)

  • With the verb ‘partire’ = ‘to leave’.

Domani parto per Parigi = Tomorrow I’m leaving for Paris

  • To indicate the recipient of a benefit.

Ho un regalo per te = I have a present for you

‘tra’ / ‘fra’

  • To indicate the length of time that separates the present from a future event that is expected to happen.

Tra/Fra dieci giorni mi sposo = I’ll get married in ten days

  • To indicate a location.

Federica è seduta tra Michela e Luca = Federica is sitting between Michela and Luca

Now that you know how to use Italian prepositions, why not discover more about the Italian grammar with a native Italian tutor? If you want to receive more information about our Italian courses contact us!

 

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