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Using the Preposition In with a Definite Article

We recently talked about the preposition in: what it means and how to use it. While we don't always use an article with the noun following it, we often do. And when we do use in with a definite article, we combine the preposition and the article to form what we call una preposizione articolata (an "articled" preposition). 

 

Basically, the n, instead of being at the end of the preposition in, gets moved to the beginning of the word and is followed by an e. After that, the ending will change according to the gender and number of the definite article, as well as whether the word following it starts with a vowel.

 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Here's the list:

 

(in + il) nel 

(in + lo) nello 

(in + l') nell' 

(in + la) nella 

(in + i) nei 

(in + le) nelle

 

in plus a masculine singular article il

 

Nel frattempo, riempiamo una pentola d'acqua.

In the meantime, we'll fill a pot with water.

Caption 21, L'Italia a tavola - Penne alla Toma Piemontese

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We say nel because it's il frattempo. But here's a tip. Actually, we rarely say il frattempo. Most of the time you will find the noun frattempo together with the preposition nel. It's curious because the noun frattempo already comes from another preposition fra (between) and the noun tempo (time). In English we can say "in the meantime" or "meanwhile," which mean almost the same thing. But we need to translate both of these as nel frattempo or, alternatively, nel mentre, which means the same thing.

 

in plus the masculine singular article lo

 

Questo è fondamentale quando ci si trova

This is fundamental when you find yourself,

appunto nello studio di doppiaggio

in fact, in the dubbing studio

a dover affrontare un, un testo oppure un personaggio.

and need to deal with a script or a character.

Captions 16-17, Arianna e Marika - Il lavoro di doppiatrice

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We say nello because we say lo studio (the studio). So here, you have to pay attention to the first letter of the word following the preposition. It will start with an S plus a consonant, or a Z, and sometimes Y.

 

Quanti libri hai nello zaino?

How many books do you have in your backpack?

Caption 9, Marika spiega - La particella NE

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Oppure nello yogurt, la mela sciolta diciam'...

Or else in some yogurt, an apple dissolved, let's say...

ridotta a polpa nello yogurt, sempre sul viso, è idratante.

reduced to a pulp in some yogurt, again on the face, is moisturising.

Caption 22, Enea - Mela Part 2

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Il tasto "play" e "pause"

The "play" and "pause" button

si trova esattamente nello stesso punto del pannello di controllo.

is located in exactly the same spot on the control panel.

Captions 15-16, Italian Intro - Serena

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in plus the masculine or feminine singular definite article l'

We use l' when the first letter of the word following the article starts with a vowel. We double the L and add an apostrophe.

 

Nell'ultimo ventennio,

In the last twenty years,

i coronavirus si sono imposti all'attenzione del mondo

coronaviruses have caught the attention of the entire world

in tre momenti precisi.

in three precise moments.

Captions 27-29, COVID-19 - Domande frequenti

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Allora, può intagliare così,

So, they can make an incision like this,

può intagliare un pomodoro così,

they can cut a notch in a tomato like so,

mettere una pentola d'acqua a bollire

put up a pot of water to boil,

e tenere i pomodori

and keep the tomatoes

nell'acqua bollente per dieci minuti.

in the boiling water for ten minutes.

Captions 10-14, L'Italia a tavola - La pappa al pomodoro

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in plus the feminine singular article la

 

È da circa otto minuti che i nostri spaghetti

It's been about eight minutes that our spaghetti

stanno cuocendo nella pentola.

has been cooking in the pot.

Caption 38, Adriano - Spaghetti pomodoro e aglio

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in plus the masculine plural definite article i

 

E due luoghi sacri si trovano proprio nei punti più alti della città.

And two sacred places are found right at the highest points of the city.

Caption 12, Meraviglie - EP. 1 - Part 10

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in plus the feminine plural definite article le

 

Leonardo, molto spesso, nelle sue opere,

Leonardo, very often in his works,

faceva le figure centrali

made the central figures

quasi fossero delle piramidi

almost as if they were pyramids

e poi i dodici apostoli sono suddivisi in gruppi di tre.

and then, the twelve apostles are divided into groups of three.

Captions 10-13, Meraviglie - EP. 3 - Part 12

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Olivetti è sempre riuscito nelle cose che ha intrapreso.

Olivetti has always succeeded in the things he has undertaken.

Caption 46, Adriano Olivetti - La forza di un sogno Ep.2

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BANNER PLACEHOLDER

 

In future lessons, we will talk about other preposizioni articolate that follow these same principles.

See this lesson about di (of): 

See this lesson about in (to, in, at). 

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