Articulated Prepositions

Italian contractions
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Preposizioni articolate

Articulated prepositions are the contractions of certain Italian prepositions with definite articles. In English, contractions like "I’m" and "won’t" are optional and indicate informality. In Italian, however, preposizioni articolate are required, regardless of the register you’re speaking or writing in.

Of the nine most common Italian prepositions, five* have articulated forms. This table can seem overwhelming at first, but take a look and you’ll quickly see the patterns.

Contracted Prepositions

    il   lo   la   l’   i   gli   le
a   al   allo   alla   all’   ai   agli   alle
da   dal   dallo   dalla   dall’   dai   dagli   dalle
di   del   dello   della   dell’   dei   degli   delle
in   nel   nello   nella   nell’   nei   negli   nelle
su   sul   sullo   sulla   sull’   sui   sugli   sulle

Per esempio…

Vado al negozio.   I’m going to the store.
Arriva dagli Stati Uniti.   He’s arriving from the United States.

 * There is in fact a sixth preposition, con, with articulated forms, but these are no longer commonly used. You may encounter them in literature and idiomatic expressions.

    il   lo   la   l’   i   gli   le
con   col   collo   colla   coll’   coi   cogli   colle

 Contracted prepositions are known as preposizioni articolate, in contrast to basic prepositions called preposizioni semplici.

 Note that the articulated prepositions with di are identical to their corresponding partitive articles, and that the plural forms are also identical to their corresponding indefinite articles.

 Related lessons

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Italian articulated prepositions

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