What is da in Italian?
Learning prepositions can be tricky in a foreign language because you might know their general translation but their usage may vary a lot when translating from one language to another.
A preposition is a short word that helps connect the elements within the sentence with a certain meaning. Da is one of the most common words in Italian, but in English it does not translate with just one word.
In this lesson, we will look at the Italian preposition da and learn how to use it in different contexts to talk about places.
As you might know, when the preposition da comes before a definite article it joins onto it to form one word. These words are called preposizioni articolate. They are: dal, dallo, dalla, dai, dagli, dalle.
How to use da as a motion to or from somewhere?
The preposition da can have the function of connecting a verb of motion with the destination or the origin of that motion.
With the verbs venire (to come), arrivare (arrive), partire (depart), and similar. It indicates the origin of the movement and can be translated into English from:
Questo treno viene da Roma.
This train comes from Rome.
Marco è appena arrivato dalla Francia.
Marco just arrived from France.
L’autobus parte da Firenze e arriva a Milano.
The bus departs from Florence and arrives to Milan.
You might know that to talk about going somewhere, we usually employ the preposition a, to:
Domani andiamo a Taranto.
Tomorrow we are going to Taranto.
However, if we are talking about someone’s place or business, we need to use the preposition da, which also translates as to:
Luca sta andando da Giovanni.
Luca is going to Giovanni’s.
Ieri sono andata dal dentista.
Yesterday I went to the dentist.
How to use da as being somewhere?
As we’ve just seen, the preposition da needs to be used to talk about going to someone.
We also use it to talk about being at someone’s place or business or when we use verbs of state in a place and not of motion.
Have a look at the examples below:
Sono dal dentista, tu dove sei?
I am at the dentist’s, where are you?
Domani mangeremo dai miei genitori.
Tomorrow we’ll eat at my parents.
Settimana scorsa siamo stati tre giorni da Francesca.
Last week we stayed at Francesca’s for three days.
As you can see, this construction is the equivalent of the English at someone’s place.
Practice with QuizletHere's a set of flashcards and quizzes to practice this grammar topic.
How to use da as being from somewhere?
Remember, da is also used to say I am from or I come from when you use the verb venire (to come). It can be used as a preposizione articolata with names of continents and countries while on its own with names of cities.
Io vengo dalla Polonia, e tu?
I come from Poland, and you?
Verónica viene dall’Ecuador.
Verónica comes from Ecuador.
Noi veniamo da Ginevra.
We come from Geneva.
Still translating in your head? Wanna speak Italian for real? Check out Stefano's courses to think directly in Italian and become fluent fast!