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Italian prepositions

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Prepositions (preposizioni) link a word or a clause to another one (for example a noun to a verb) giving coherence and cohesion to the sentence.

Italian prepositions can be:

  • proper, divided into simple and articulated
  • improper

Proper prepositions 

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Simple prepositions

Simple prepositions (preposizioni semplici) are the nine basic prepositions in Italian. They are always mentioned in the following order:

di of
da by
in in
con with 
su on
per for
tra / frabetween

Sentences with "di"

La finestra di questo ufficio è rotta
The window of this office is broken

Oggi abbiamo conosciuto la ragazza di Valencia
Today we met the girl from Valencia

Sentences with "a"

Sono stato a festa noiosa
I was at a boring party

Il mio collega va a Genova
My colleague goes to Genua

Sentences with "da"

Da ora in poi non comprerò più carne
From now on I will not buy meat anymore

Quella casa è stata costruita da un muratore tre anni fa 
That house was built by a bricklayer three years ago 

Sentences with "in"

In questo momento non so cosa fare
In this moment I don't know what to do

Abito in Piemonte da quando sono nata
I live in Piedmont since when I was born

Sentences with "with"

Ho comprato questa casa con il mio fidanzato
I bought this house with my boyfriend

Bevo il té con il limone
I drink tea with lemon

Sentences with " su"

Il vaso è su un tavolo
The vase is on a table

Somewhere over the rainbow birds fly
Da qualche parte sopra l'arcobalen volano gli uccelli

Sentences with "per"

Questa camicia è per mio padre
This shirt is for my father

Guardo film in inglese per impararlo meglio
I watch movies in english to learn it better

Sentences with "tra/fra"

Tra il computer e la bottiglia c'è il libro
Between the laptop and the bottle there is a book

Molti amici fra quelli che avete conosciuto, sono francesi
Several friends, among those you met, are French

Articulated prepositions 

Articulated prepositions (preposizioni articolate) are simple prepositions joined with definite articles. 


As you can see from the table, not each simple preposition has all the six forms, while per and tra/fra have no articulated forms at all.

Sentences with articulated prepositions

Stare nel traffico della città è stressante
Staying in the traffic is stressful

Questo è il treno delle cinque
This is five o'clock train

I muri della mia casa sono bianchi
The walls of my house are white

Improper prepositions 

"Improper prepositions" (preposizioni improprie) are words that can be used both with function of preposition or other parts of speech (adverbs, nouns,..).
Their function depends on the context. 
When we have some expressions formed by more words we talk about "prepositional locutions" (locuzioni preposizionali).

Look at the following table with the most used improper prepositions and their meaning.

attraverso through, across
contro (di)against
davanti ain front of
dietro behind
di fronte ain front of
dopo (di)after
fuori (di)outside of, out of
intorno aaround
prima (di)before
verso towards


Sentences with improper prepositions

Molti miei colleghi sono contro le mie idee
A lot of my colleagues are against my ideas

Devo essere all'aeroporto entro le due
have to be at the airport by two o'clock

Intorno a questa casa c'è un bel giardino
Around this house there is a beautiful garden

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Next lessons

1 Italian simple prepositions A lesson about Italian simple prepositions
2 Italian articulated prepositions A lesson on Italian articulated prepositions
3 Expressions with Italian prepositions Learn some Italian expressions and words that can be use as prepositions