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Italian prepositions of place and time

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Prepositions of place in Italian: "a", "da" or "in" 

Let's revise when we use the prepositions "a", "in" or "da" to indicate a place in Italian.

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Use of "a"

"A" is placed before:

  • proper nouns of cities
    Vivo a Napoli → I live in Naples
    Vado a Napoli → I go to Naples
  • the following nouns (look at the different use of the article in some cases):
a casa(at) home
a lettoin / to bed
a teatroat / to the theatre
a scuolaat / to school
al cinemaat / to the cinema
al parcoat / in the park
al mareat / to the seaside
al lagoat / to the lake
al portoat / to the harbour
al supermercatoat / to the supermarket
al mercatoat / to the market
al barat / to the café
al ristoranteat / to the restaurant
alla stazioneat / to the station
alla postaat / in / to the post office
all'aeroportoat / to the airport

Sono a scuola
I am at school
Vado a scuola
I go to school

Use of "in"

"In" is placed before:

  • proper nouns of countries, regions, big islands
  • the following nouns (look at the different use of the article in some cases):
in casa(at) home
in / nel (in+il) salottoin / to the living room
in / nella (in+la) cucinain / to the kitchen
in / nel (in+il) giardinoin / to the garden
in / nel (in+il) cortilein / to the courtyard
in / nel (in+il) bagnoin / to the bathroom
in / nella (in+la) camerain / to the bedroom
in / nel (in+il)centro in / to the centre
in / nella (in+la) città in / to the city
in / nel (in+il) paesein / to the village
in / nella (in+la) piazzain / to the square
in / nel (in+il) negozioat / to the shop
in / nella (in+la) bancain / to the bank 
in / nella (in+la) fabbricaat / in / to the factory
in / nella (in+la) stradain / to the street 
in / nell' (in + l') ufficioin / to the office
in / nella (in+la) chiesain / to the church
in / nel (in+il) ospedaleat / in / to the hospital
in / nell' (in+l')albergoin / to the hotel
in montagnain / to the mountains
in campagnain / to the countryside
in / nella (in+la) pizzeriaat / to the pizzeria
in / nella (in+la) discotecaat / to the disco
in / nella (in+la) bibliotecain / to the library
in / nella (in+la) gelateriaat / to the ice-cream shop
nel (in+il) parcoin the park
nel (in+il) castelloin the castle


enlightenedWhen there are two options we usually use:
      → in to speak about the place in general​
      → nel/nello/nella [...] (in+definite article)
 are used to talk about the place in a more specific way (see Italian articulated prepositions)
However this rule doesn't always work and you can learn the use of these expressions by practising the language only.

Use of "da"

"Da" is placed before

  • nouns of places concerning someone's job

Sono dal dentista.
I am at the dentist.
Vado dal dentista.
I go to the dentist.

  • nouns referring to a starting point in space or the origin of something.

Arriverò da Perugia con il treno .
I'll arrive from Perugia by train.

enlightenedAs you can see from the examples, Italian prepositions don't distinguish between direction and location in space.
       However, when we want to express a movement from a place, we always use da.

Preposition of time: "di", "a", "da", "in", "tra/fra"

Let's revise when we use the prepositions "di" "a",  "da", "in" or "tra/fra" to express time in Italian.

Use of "di"

"Di" is placed before parts of the day.

Noi andiamo al cinema di pomeriggio.
We go to the cinema in the afternoon.

Use of "a"

"A" is placed before months, hour and age.

A novembre piove spesso.
It often rains in November.
Alle (a+le) cinque di solito bevo il té.
At five o'clock I usually drink the tea.
A tredici anni è difficile decidere per il proprio futuro.
At thirteen it is difficilt to decide for your own future.

Use of "da"

"Da" is placed before a starting point in time.

Lavoro qui dal 1990.
I've been working here since 1990.
Luigi abita qui da tre mesi.
Luigi has been living here for three months.

Use of "in"

"In" is placed before years and season

Nel (in+il) 2018 la nostra società è ancora molto instabile.
In 2018 our society is still very unstable.
In estate andremo al mare.
In (the) summer (summertime) we'll go to the seaside.

Use of "tra/fra"

"Tra" and "Fra" are placed before an expression of time and indicate an interval of time.

Tra due anni sarò laureato.
I'll be graduated in two years.


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