Learn Italian Improper Prepositions (Preposizioni Improprie)

In addition to the simple prepositions we've already covered, there are also "improper" prepositions, called preposizioni improprie in Italian, which are actually adverbs, adjectives, participles, and phrases, which often function as prepositions in general use.

If this is unclear, think of an English example. For instance, the word around is an adverb, because it describes a way of performing a verb. In the phrase "look around", around modifies look. However, we often use this word as a preposition, like when someone says "the office is just around the corner". In cases like these, it is an improper preposition. Italian has them too, and that's what we're talking about today.

Avverbi (adverbs)

The following adverbs function as prepositions.

sotto

: under

sopra

: over

prima

: before

dopo

: after

presso

: by

accanto

: near by

oltre

: further

dietro

: behind

davanti

: in front of

avanti

: in front of

innanzi

: in front of

insieme

: together

intorno

: around

attorno

: around

dentro

: inside

fuori

: outside

Examples:

  • Starò fuori città per qualche giorno.
    I will be out of town for a few days.
  • Arrivo a casa prima di cena.
    I will be home before dinner.
  • Il cane è sotto il tavolo.
    The dog is under the table.
  • La casa di mia nonna è vicina.
    My grandmother's house is close.

Aggettivi (adjectives)

Next, there are adjectives which are used as prepositions.

secondo

: in accordance with

lungo

: along

vicino

: near, close by

lontano

: far

Examples:

  • La mia casa è vicino alla chiesa, lungo il canale.
    My house is near the church, along the canal.
  • Secondo me lontono dai suoceri si vive meglio.
    In my opinion life is better far from your in-laws.

Participi (participals)

These are participals which are used as prepositions.

durante

: during

nonostante

: in spite of

salvo

: near

Examples:

  • Ci siamo divertiti molto durante le vacanze.
    We had a lot of fun during our vacation.
  • Nonostante la pioggia non faceva freddo.
    In spite of the rain, it was not cold.

Locuzioni (expressions)

And finally, there are a few phrases that are used as prepositions.

di fronte a

: in front of

in mezzo a

: in between

al pari di

: as much as

a causa di

: because of

in base a

: on account of

in vista di

: having in mind

Examples:

  • Sono senza parole di fronte alla tua bravura.
    I am speechless at your ability.
  • Non abbiamo fatto queil viaggio a causa del maltempo.
    We did not go on that trip due to bad weather.

Want to see my favorite language resources and courses?
I listed them here.

Author: Yearlyglot
I'll lead you through a 12 month journey from knowing absolutely nothing about a language to having professional fluency.

Leave a comment:

Comment Policy: Comments and feedback are totes welcome but respect is mandatory. Disagree all you want but be nice. All comments and links are moderated.
  • Your whole blog is turning into quite the good study resource for different language tips and especially for Italian! Going to link to it in today's Language Hacking League e-mail, and will be going through these posts when it's time for me to review and pump some life back into my own Italian.Keep up the good work :D

  • Thanks. I appreciate such a great compliment. Sometimes it's daunting to come up with material every day, but I think I'm proving that it can be done. It's nice to know that it's well-received.

Want to learn a language in 12 months?
SIGN UP:

Language you're learning...
Join