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The preposition DA with places: Italian grammar lesson 86

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DA in Italian

Learning prepositions can be tricky in a foreign language, 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 it does not translate with just one word in English.

In this lesson, we will look at the Italian preposition DA and how to use it in different contexts to talk about places.

As you might know, the preposition DA, when it comes before a definite article, joins onto it to form one word: preposizioni articolate. 

Da then becomes dal, dallo, dalla, dai, dagli, dalle.

DA: motion to/from somewhere

da with cities italian

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), etc. It indicates the origin of the movement and can be translated with the 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 in Milan.

You might know that to talk about going somewhere we usually employ the preposition A (to):

Domani andiamo a Taranto.

Tomorrow we go 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

DA: being somewhere

da with people italian

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 someones’ 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.

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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 Quizlet

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

DA: being from somewhere

I come from in italian

Remember, DA is also used to say “I am/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?

Veronica viene dall’Ecuador.

Veronica comes from Ecuador.

Noi veniamo da Ginevra.

We come from Geneva.

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