Prepositions are short words which express conditions, directions, specifications, such as: of, over, to, from, etc.

Prepositions are those little words that mark places in space or time. When prepositions are used together with definite articles, the preposition and the article are sometimes condensed into a single word. When they are not followed (and bound) to articles, they are called “simple prepositions“.

Simple prepositions  are words that aren’t followed by articles. They are:

di (d’) → of

a → to

da → from, by, since

in → in

con → with

tra, fra → between

su → on

per → for

Di means “of”, indicating possession, or “from” (to be from).

Un bicchiere di vino  »  a glass of wine

Una casa di legno  »  a house of wood

Il computer di Andrea»  Andrea’s computer (literally: “the book of Andrea”)

La madre di Anna  »  Anna’s mother

Io sono di Siracusa»  I am from Syracuse

I miei amici sono di Catania»  my friends are from Catane

A means “to” (indirect object and movement) or “in”, indicating location (cities and places).

When preposition “a” is followed by another word starting with a vowel, for phonetic reasons it changes to “ad”.

Presto il libro a Giovanni»  I lend the book to John

Venderò la bicicletta a Laura»  I will sell the bycicle to Laura

Gira a destra a destra  »  Turn to the right (→ note:  in Italian the two directions have no article)

Tornerò a New York  »  I will return to New York

Siamo sdraiati a letto  »  We are lying  in bed

Tu vivi a Roma   »  You live in Rome

Da means “since”, “from” (to come from), “by” (passive) and it’s used with location referring to people.

Vivo a Catania da 30 anni   »  I’ve lived in Catane for 30 years

Vengo da Siracusa»  I come from Syracuse

Questo corso è stato fatto da Maria»  This course was made by Maria

Sono da Davide   »  I’m at Davide’s

In usually means “in”.

Vivo in una bella città   »  I live in a beautiful city.

Ho delle caramelle in tasca   »  I have some candies in my pocket

Attraverseremo il fiume in barca   »  we will cross the river by boat

Con means “with”.

Sono con te  »  I’m with you

Ho comprato il libro con pochi soldi   »  I bought the book with little money

Andrea era con sua sorella   » Andrew was with his sister

Su means “on(to)”, “over”.

I libri sono su una scrivania   »  The books are on a desk.

L’aereo vola su Roma»  The plane flies over Rome

Per  can translate English for, to, by, or even as, according to the different use.

Questo regalo è per te   »  This present is for you

Ho un biglietto per il teatro   »  I have a ticket for the theatre

Tra-fra mean “between” or “in” followed by a time expression.

Vengo a casa tra(fra) due minuti  »  I’d come home in two minutes

L’autobus passerà fra(tra) due ore  »  The bus will pass in two hours

L’albero fra(tra) le due case è alto   »  The tree between the two houses is tall

Maria Scalici


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