The preposition su (on) has a lot of uses in Italian.
When su indicates a location, it translates as on or over.
|La biro è sul libro||The pen is on the book|
|C'è un ponte sul fiume||There's a bridge over the river|
When su indicates the topic of a speech or writing, it translates as on or about.
|Tenere una conferenza su come scrivere un articolo||To give a lecture on how to write an article|
|Si è scritto molto su questo argomento||A lot has been written about this topic|
When su indicates an approximation, it translates as about.
|Quella donna sembra avere sui quarant'anni||That woman seems to be about forty years old|
|Ha una macchina che costa sui cinquantamila euro||He has a car that cost about 50'000 euros|
|Il pacco pesa sui due chili||The package weights about two kilos|
Be careful! In this case, Italian language needs the article after the preposition (see Italian articulated prepositions)
Sui trent'anni → About thirty years old
When su has a distributive function it is translated as in or out of.
|Un ragazzo su tre trova lavoro||One in three guys find a job|
|Giorgia ha ottenuto il punteggio di quattro su cinque||Giorgia got the score of four out of five|
In the following table you can find a list of typical Italian expressions that are introduced by the preposition "su".
|dire/parlare sul serio||to be serious / to talk seriously|
|essere su di giri||to be hyper / on a high|
|su larga scala||large-scale / widespread|
|piangere sul latte versato||to cry over split milk|
|essere sull'orlo di un precipizio||to stand on the edge of a cliff|
|essere sul punto di||to be about to|
|pensarci su||to think about it|
|su richiesta||on request|
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