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Appresso vs presso

In a previous lesson, we looked at the preposition presso. It's used, for example, when you are staying with someone and can stand for "c/o." You can use it to say in which organization you are working. It's always followed by a noun.

 

Lavoro presso la biblioteca comunale (I work at the public library).

 

Please see this lesson to get more information about presso.

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Appresso

In a recent video, we find a related word, appresso, usually used as an adverb, but also as a preposition. In this particular case, Alberto Manzi has been sent to a juvenile detention center to try to teach kids how to read and write. They are unwilling, and prefer to follow the "leader of the pack."

Tutti appresso a lui come delle pecore.

All of you following him like sheep.

Caption 52, Non è mai troppo tardi EP1 - Part 8

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Our translation, "following," doesn't really do the word justice. It might be easier to have a visual cue. Think of how sheep really act. They don't follow each other neatly in a line. They kind of crowd one another without thinking.

 

In the following example, Lara's father is talking about an ancient tomb he has been studying for years. Again, the translation doesn't do it justice, but the preposition appresso gives you the feeling that he has been obsessing over that tomb, that it has been consuming his time and energies.

Sono quattordici anni che sto appresso a quella tomba!

I've been on that tomb for fourteen years.

Caption 52, Il Commissario Manara S1EP11 - Beato tra le donne - Part 8

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The "prefix" A can provide a word with a new dynamic 

Let's consider for a moment the addition of an A to the beginning of the preposition presso. It is very reminiscent of the relation between dosso and addossoor poggio and appoggio.  The prefix A can change a noun into a different part of speech.

 

But whereas  addosso has to do with the back as a body part, often used figuratively, appresso is more about being nearby.

Cucina contadina che emigra nelle città, portandosi appresso conoscenze e tradizioni.

Country cooking that emigrates to the cities, taking along with it knowledge and traditions.

Captions 15-16, L'arte della cucina Terre d'Acqua - Part 13

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In terms of clothing and accessories, addosso might have to do with the clothes you have on, and appresso will be more related to your briefcase, laptop, carry-on bag, or handbag.

 

Speaking figuratively, when you are keeping at someone to do something, or just coming too close, addosso and appresso can practically coincide.

Non mi stare così addosso (get off my back)!

Non mi stare così appresso (give me some space)!

 

Addosso may be more common in this context, but the example can serve to see what the difference is.

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