The preposition “da” with places: Italian grammar lesson 86


Key Takeaways

Dive into the versatile world of the Italian preposition da! This guide breaks down how to master its various uses, from indicating motion to pinpointing origins and destinations. Say goodbye to preposition perplexity and hello to speaking like a local!

  • Understanding da: Grasp the essence of the Italian preposition da and learn how it fuses with articles to form preposizioni articolate like dal, dalla, and dai.
  • Motion to/from Places: Use da with verbs of motion such as venire (to come) to express the starting point, like “I’m coming da Roma” (from Rome).
  • Heading to Someone’s Place: When you’re off to someone’s house or a business, switch up to da to say you’re going to their place, as in “I’m going da Giovanni” (to Giovanni’s).
  • Being at a Location: Chat about chilling at someone’s spot by sticking with da. Say “I’m dal dentista” (at the dentist’s) to show where you’re hanging out.
  • Origin Stories: Share where you’re from with pride using da. Just say “I come da Milano” (from Milan) to reveal your hometown roots.

Quick facts

How does "da" function in motion-related contexts?

"Da" connects verbs of motion to their origin, translating to "from" in English, e.g., "Questo treno viene da Roma" ("This train comes from Rome").

What preposition should be used for someone's place or business?

Use "da" to indicate going to someone's place or business, such as "Luca sta andando da Giovanni" ("Luca is going to Giovanni's").

How does "da" change with definite articles?

"Da" combines with definite articles to form preposizioni articolate like "dal," "dallo," and "dalla," simplifying sentence construction.

When discussing origin of motion, which verbs commonly pair with "da"?

Verbs like "venire" (to come), "arrivare" (to arrive), and "partire" (to depart) commonly pair with "da" to indicate origin.

How does "da" differ from "a" in destination context?

"A" indicates a general destination, while "da" is used specifically for locations related to people or businesses, e.g., "Ieri sono andata dal dentista" ("Yesterday I went to the dentist").

How is "da" used in non-motion contexts?

"Da" indicates being at someone's place or business, akin to "at" in English, e.g., "Sono dal dentista" ("I am at the dentist's").

How to express "being from" a place using "da"?

Use "da" with "venire" to express origin, e.g., "Io vengo dalla Polonia" ("I come from Poland").

Is there a difference in using "da" with cities versus countries?

Yes, use "da" alone for cities but "da" plus an article for countries, e.g., "Noi veniamo da Ginevra" ("We come from Geneva") vs. "Vernica viene dall'Ecuador" ("Vernica comes from Ecuador").

How should "da" be used with verbs of state?

Use "da" to indicate being at a place in non-motion contexts, e.g., "Domani mangeremo dai miei genitori" ("Tomorrow we'll eat at my parents'").

What is the English equivalent of "da" when used with people?

"Da" translates to "at someone's place" in English, providing a direct connection to a person's location or business.

My Thoughts

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.

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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 Quizlet

Here'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.

Test your knowledge in 10 quick questions

What is "da" in Italian?

It's a preposition that has several meanings and it can be used to talk about places.

How to use "da" as motion to or from somewhere?

For connecting a verb of motion with the destination or the origin of that motion, in English becomes from or to.

How to use "da" as being somewhere?

For talking about being at someone's place or business or when we use verbs of state in a place.

How to use "da" as being from somewhere?

For saying I am from or I come from.

Italian word of the day
Hai la febbre! Sì, mi è venuta l’influenza.
You have a fever! Yes, I got influenza.
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