"To" in Italian
The preposition to has a lot of translations in Italian. This depends on its funcion and its meaning.
- 1.Meanings and translations
- 1.1.The preposition "di"
- 1.2.The preposition "a" (directions, connective, indirect object complement)
- 1.2.3.Indirect object complement
- 1.3.The preposition "da" (directions, correlation, general things)
- 1.3.3.General things
- 1.4.The preposition "in" (direction, changes)
- 1.5.The preposition "per" (direction, aims)
Meanings and translations
The preposition "di"
To is translated with di when it works as connective between an infinitive and another verb. In English, this construction is formed by -ing forms or to + infinitive. Take a look at the following examples.
- Mi ha chiesto di uscire stasera. (He asked me to go out tonight.)
- Hai finito di bere? (Did you finish drinking?)
The preposition "a" (directions, connective, indirect object complement)
To is translated with a when it indicates the destination or a direction. But careful, only with places and cities!
- Ho preso l'aereo per andare a Parigi. (I took the plane to go to Paris.)
- Pensi di andare al mare o a scuola? (Do you thing about going to the beach or to school?)
A can be translated with to also when it works as connective between an infinite and a verb that expresses the beginning of an action. In English, this construction is formed by -ing forms or to + infinitive.
- Hai iniziato a studiare per l'esame? (Did you start to study for the exam?)
- Comincio a pensare che questo è strano. (I started thinking that this is weird.)
Indirect object complement
The preposition a in Italian introduces also the indirect object complement. In English, it matches to to or it is just omitted.
- Voglio raccontare tutto questo a lei. (I want to tell all this to her.)
- Il postino ha consegnato un pacco a me. (The mailman delivered a pack to me.)
The preposition "da" (directions, correlation, general things)
Da means to in several contexts. The simplest to understand is meaning directions. We use da when the destination is a person, a family, or a pronoun.
- Devo trasferirmi da Matteo. (I have to move to Matteo's home.)
- Pensavo di venire da te stasera. (I was thinking about coming to your place, tonight.)
- Devo andare dai Bianchi per parlare con il padre. (I have to go to the Bianchi's home to talk with the dad.)
Da matches also to to when is used in Italian to indicate a correlation. This happens only when it is followed by an infinitive.
- Fa così freddo da star male. (It's so cold to get bad.)
- Sono abbastanza arrabbiato da denunciarli. (I am angry enough to denounce them.)
We use da also after an indefinite noun with the following structure: indefinite noun + da + infinitive verb. English works in the same way.
- Ci sono tante cose da fare. (There are a lot of things to do.)
- Vuoi qualcosa da bere? (Do you want something to drink?)
The preposition "in" (direction, changes)
In Italian, in means to when indicating a direction or a destination which is a country, big islands or regions, streets, and nouns of places or shops ending in -ia (and also a few exceptions more).
- Credo che tornerò in Europa. (I think I will go back to Europe.)
- Andiamo in pizzeria stasera. Che ne pensi? (Let's go at the pizzeria tonight)
- Andrò in Sicilia in vacanza quest'estate. (I will go to Sicily on holiday this summer.)
With verbs like transform and convert.
- Non puoi trasformare l'acqua in vino. (You cant' turn the water into wine.)
- Devi convertire quel documento in pdf. (You have to convert that document to pdf.)
The preposition "per" (direction, aims)
To means per when it indicates a destination, but only when the contexts express clearly motion.
- Il treno per Londra è in ritardo. (The train to London is late.)
- La strada per il mare è quella. (The street to the beach is that.)
Also, per is used a lot to indicate a purpose or an aim.
- Devo vederla per raccontarle tutto. (I have to meet her to tell her everything.)
- Voglio tornare in Italia per mangiare la pizza. (I want to go back to Italy to eat pizza.)
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