How to use DA: Italian grammar lesson 77

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da in italian 1
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DA in Italian

In Italian, da is probably one of the most used prepositions and it has many meanings and uses.

In this lesson, we will learn how to use da in different contexts, and how it translates into English.

Sono partita da casa mia.

I left from my place.

L’ho buttato già dalla finestra.

I threw it out the window.

Stasera andiamo a cena da Marco.

Tonight we go to Marco’s for dinner.

Remember, when followed by a definite article, the preposition da joind the article to form one word.

This is called preposizione articolata. 

da + il dal
da + lo dallo (dall’)
da + la dalla (dall’)
da + i dai
da + gli  dagli
da + le dalle 

Da as “from”

da from italian

The most common use of da is as an equivalent to the English “from”. It can be used to describe the origins of a movement and motionsaway from“.

Siete partiti da Parigi?

Did you depart from Paris?

Sono uscita dal negozio.

I came out of the shop.

Sei sceso dal treno?

Have you got off the train?

It can also indicate origins and provenance when used with the verb venire (to come).

Io vengo dalla Spagna.

I come from Spain.

Luigi viene da una buona famiglia.

Luigi comes from a good family.

Da with time

da since italian

Da can also be used with expressions of time. In this case, it indicates how long something has been going on (“for”) or to translate the English “since“.

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Have a look at the examples below:

Studio Italiano da tre anni.

I have been studying Italian for three years.

Non li sento da due settimane.

I have not heard from them for two weeks.

Da quando è arrivato, non ha mangiato niente.

He has not eaten anything since he arrived.

Sometimes it can also be translated with the English “in“:

Non li vedo da anni.

I haven’t seen them in  years.

When it is used with the imperfetto (past imperfect tense), da can also indicate a definite point in time, like a phase or period of life.

Da bambina mi piaceva sciare.

As a child I loved to ski.

Da piccoli non andavamo mai al mare.

We never went to the seaside when we were little.

Da: at someone’s house

at someones italian

The Italian preposition da can also be used to describe the movement toward’s a person’s house or workplace, and also the state of being there.

Stasera vado a cena da Marco.

Tonight I go to Marco’s place for dinner.

Domani Giacomo va dal dentista.

Tomorrow Giacomo will go to the dentist.

Dove siete?
Siamo da Giada.

Where are you?
We’re at Giada’s place.

Practice with Quizlet

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

Da: Other uses

by in italian

Da has a lot of other uses, let’s see some of the most important ones, with examples:

  • When followed by a verb in the infinitive, it describes something that needs to be done.

Ho ancora tantissime email da scrivere.

I still have so many emails to write.

  • It can describe the agent in passive sentences (as the English “by“)

Quest’opera teatrale è stata scritta da Gogol.

This theatre play was written by Gogol.

  • It can indicate a cause or reason for something:

Mi sono addormentato dalla noia.

I fell asleep from boredom.

  • When used with nouns, it indicates purpose:

sala da pranzo

dining room

carte da gioco

playing cards

vestito da sera

evening gown

  • It can be used to describe qualities in people:

Una donna dagli occhi scuri.

A woman with dark eyes.

Un bambino dai capelli biondi.

A child with blond hair.

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