Italian simple prepositions
Simple prepositions (preposizioni semplici) are all invariable in gender and number.
You can easily learn them from the following list:
- di (of, from,...)
- a (at, to,...)
- da (by, from,...)
- in (in, to,...)
- con (with)
- su (on, over,...)
- per (for, to,...)
- tra (between, among,...)
- fra (between, among,...)
As you can see, each preposition can have different meanings.
The preposition di (of, from, ...)
The preposition di is used in the following contexts.
|Possession||Lei è la mamma di Giorgio||She's Giorgio's mum|
|Origin||Mia mamma è di Roma||My mum is from Rome|
|Topics||Un libro di filosofia||A book about philosophy (A philosophy book)|
|Contents||Un sacchetto di caramelle||A bag of candies|
|Una torta di mele||An apple cake|
|Cause or reason||Sto morendo di sonno||I'm dying of sleepiness|
|Measures or quantity||Una strada di venti chilometri||A twenty-kilometres-long road|
|Part of a group||Qualcuno di voi mente||Some of you are lying|
|Gli uffici sono aperti solo di giorno||The offices are opened during the morning only|
|Comparisons||Maria è più alta di Sara||Maria is taller than Sara|
The preposition a (at, to,...)
The preposition a has the following meanings. When it is followed by the same vowel, you add a -d.
|Direction (cities and places)||Sto andando ad Amburgo||I am going to Bologna|
|Exact time or moment||L'appuntamento è alle cinque||The date is at five o'clock|
|Distance (space and time)||L'albergo più vicino è a due chilometri||The nearest hotel is two kilometres away|
|Avevo dato a tutti voi la mia fiducia||I had given you all my trust|
The preposition da (from, by,...)
The preposition da has the following meanings.
|Starting point in space / origin||Il volo da Roma a Madrid è in ritardo||The flight from Rome to Madrid got delayed|
|Motion "through" something||Per andare in Francia bisogna passare dal tunnel||You have to pass through a tunnel to go to France|
|Starting point in time||Studio spagnolo dall'anno scorso||I have been studying Spanish since last year|
|Current location||Sono da Claudia adesso||I'm at Claudia's now|
|Agent in passive sentences||L'edificio è stato costruito da quella compagnia||The building was built by that company|
|Characteristics||La signora dai pantaloni rossi||The lady with red trousers|
|Purposes||Scarpe da tennis||Tennis shoes|
The preposition in (in, to,...)
The preposition in has the following meanings.
|Location in a space or in time||La "Barcaccia" è una famosa fontana di Roma in Piazza Navona||The "Barcaccia" is a famous fountain in Rome, in Navona Square|
(countries, regions and big islands)
|Mi sono trasferito in Italia, ma poi sono andato in Spagna, in Andalusia.||I moved to Italy, but then I went to Spain, to Andalusia|
|Motion within a space||Navighiamo in mare aperto||We are sailing in the open sea|
|Transports||Andiamo in aereo o in nave?||Are we going by ship or by plane?|
|Materials||Il falegname ha costruito un scala in legno||The carpenter built a wooden staircase|
|Abilities and languages||Noi scriviamo testi in francese||We write texts in French|
The preposition con (with)
The preposition con has the following meanings.
|Literal and figurative company||Stiamo andando in spiaggia con Giulia||We are going to the beach with Giulia|
|Transports||Mario è venuto con la macchina, ma è andato via con la bici||Mario came by car, but went away by bike|
|Tools||Gli spaghetti si mangiano con la forchetta.||Spaghetti are eaten with a fork|
|Characteristics||Il gatto con la coda lunga e gli occhi neri||The cat with a long tail and black eyes|
|Ways||Guidare con attenzione||Drive careful|
|Comparisons||Mi mettono sempre a confronto con mio fratello||They always compare me with my brother|
The preposition su (on, over,...)
The preposition su is used in the following contexts.
|Location||Il libro è su quel tavolo||The book is on that table|
|Topic of a speech or writing||Una conferenza su guerra e società in Medio Oriente||A conference about war and society in the Middle East|
|Approximation (age, price, measures)||Era un uomo alto sul metro e ottanta||It was a man about a metre and eighty tall|
|Distributive (groups, grades)||Un ragazzo su quattro ha preso meno di cinque su dieci!||One in four guys got less than five out of ten!|
The preposition per (for, to,...)
The preposition per has the following meanings.
Ho studiato per otto ore oggi
|I have been studying for eight hours today|
|Destination in space||Il treno per Parigi è in ritardo||The train to Paris is delayed|
|Movement "through" something||Si può entrare solo per la porta principale||You can get inside only through the main door|
|Reason||Non sono venuto per la febbre||I didn't come because of the fever|
|Purposes||L'ho fatto per farti stare bene||I did it to make you feel good|
|Imminence of an action||Sto per andare a New York||I am going to go to New York|
|Price or measure||Ho comprato la giacca per 30 euro||I bought the jacket for 30 euros|
The prepositions tra and fra (between, among,...)
The prepositions tra and fra are perfectly synonyms. They are used in the following contexts.
|Position "between" two elements||Le mele sono tra/fra le banane e le arance||The apples are between the bananas and the oranges|
|Position "among" more elements||
Il leone è il più forte tra/fra i felini
|The lion is the strongest among the felines|
|Interval of time||Lo spettacolo comincia tra/fra due minuti||The show begins in two minutes|
|Distance||Il supermercato è tra/fra duecento metri||The supermarket is two-hundred meters from here|
|Relations||C'è un bel rapporto tra/fra noi due||There is a nice relationship between the two of us|
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