Adverbs of place: Italian grammar lesson 28

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Key Takeaways

Ready to sound like a local in Italy? 🇮🇹 Dive into our guide and master the art of Italian adverbs of place! From finding your way around town to describing where your gelato is, we’ve got you covered. 🍨

  • Front & Back Basics: Use davanti for “in front of” and dietro for “behind”. Add a touch of “a” for specifics, like davanti al teatro (in front of the theater). 🎭
  • Inside Scoop: Say dentro to mean “inside” and keep it simple – no extra fluff needed. Whether you’re cozying up dentro a café or escaping the rain, you’re all set. ☕️🌧️
  • Outdoor Vibes: Use fuori when you’re stepping out. Remember, no need to overcomplicate – “outside” is just fuori, plain and simple. 🌳
  • Distance Drama: Lontano means “far” and vicino is “close”. Spice it up with prepositions to nail the distance, like lontano da casa (far from home). 🏠✈️
  • Vertical Ventures: For “above” or “on”, drop a sopra. If it’s “below” or “under” you’re after, go with sotto. No prepositions, no problem. 🆙🔽
  • Directional Duo: Turn left with sinistra and right with destra. Whether it’s a sinistra or sulla destra, you’ll never take a wrong turn in conversation. 🔄

Quick facts

How can you specify the location in Italian using "davanti" and "dietro"?

By adding the preposition "a" and an article (e.g., al, alla) right after the adverb.

When do you use "dentro" and "fuori" without additional context?

When the context is clear, such as deciding where to eat.

How do you specify "far" and "close" locations in Italian?

Use "lontano da" and "vicino a" with an article for specificity.

Can "sopra" and "sotto" be used without prepositions?

Yes, they are used without prepositions in phrases like "sopra il tavolo" (on the table).

How do you indicate directions like "left" and "right" in Italian?

Use "a" or "sulla" before "sinistra" (left) and "destra" (right).

What are examples of using "davanti" and "dietro" without specifying the object?

"No, si trova dietro" (No, it's behind) relies on implied context.

In what scenarios do "dentro" and "fuori" usually not require further clarification?

When the environment makes it evident, such as indoor or outdoor dining options.

How do you use "lontano" and "vicino" in a sentence without articles?

When location details are general, as in "Io abito molto lontano" (I live very far away).

Provide an example of "sopra" and "sotto" used in a sentence.

"Il libro è sopra il tavolo" (The book is on the table) uses "sopra" without a preposition.

What are common prepositions used with "sinistra" and "destra"?

"A" or "sulla" are common, as in "Il bar si trova sulla destra" (The cafe is on the right).

My Thoughts

Adverbs of place

In this lesson, we’re going to learn how to say and use adverbs of place in Italian, such as the equivalents of above”, “behind”, “to the left”, etc.

You’ll see that, sometimes, some of them are combined with prepositions.

Let’s get started!

In front of vs. behind

  • Davanti: in front of
  • Dietro: behind

We use these two words on their own if we know what we’re referring to and don’t need to specify.

However, if we need to be specific, we add the preposition “a” (+ an article, i.e.: al, alla, agli, etc.) right after the adverb.

Have a look at the examples below to understand what we mean:

A: La scuola si trova davanti alla piazza?

A: Is the school in front of the square?

B: No, si trova dietro.

B: No, it’s behind.

Inside vs. outside

  • Dentro: inside
  • Fuori: outside

With these two adverbs, we don’t usually tend to specify what we’re referring to since, in most cases, it’s pretty clear.

Let’s have a look at some examples:

Vuoi mangiare dentro o fuori?

Do you want to eat inside or outside?

Far vs. close

  • Lontano: far
  • Vicino: close

Again, we use these two adverbs on their own if we don’t want to be specific.

If we want to give further information, we would then say lontano + “da” (+ an article) and vicino + “a” (+ an article).

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Look at the examples:

Io abito molto lontano ma lei abita vicino.

I live very far away but she lives close.

Il cinema è lontano da casa mia.

The cinema is far from my house.

L’albergo è vicino alle montagne.

The hotel is close to the mountains.

Above vs. below

  • Sopra: above/on
  • Sotto: below/under

We use these two words without a preposition. Here are some examples:

La mia stanza è sopra e quella di mio fratello sotto.

My room is above and my brother’s room is below.

Il libro è sopra il tavolo.

The book is on the table.

Practice with Quizlet

Here's a set of flashcards and quizzes to practice this grammar topic.

Left vs. right

  • Sinistra: left
  • Destra: right

In this case, we can use two prepositions before the adverbs: either “a or “sulla.

Il bar si trova sulla destra.

The cafe is on the right.

La scuola è a sinistra.

The school is on the left.

Test your knowledge in 10 quick questions

What is an adverb of place?

An object's position in relation to another object can be described by an adverb of place. For instance, "below," "between," "above," "behind," "through," "around," etc. 

How do adverbs work in Italian?

Adverbs in Italian are typically placed after the main verb. They stand in between the auxiliary and the main verb in the case of compound verbs.

Do adverbs change in Italian?

Adverbs in Italian don't need to change in order to agree with anything; they always maintain the same form

Italian word of the day
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