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Lessons for topic Preposizioni articolate

Combining the preposition di with a definite article

The preposition di (of) is one of the most common simple prepositions. It's used to show possession, but also means, origin, manner, quantity. Take a look at the WordReference entry to get an idea.

 

The simple preposition di can be combined with an article to form what is called una preposizione articolata. In doing this, it is transformed a bit, so this is just something we need to learn. Marika has a video series about the prepositions, and begins with the common preposition di. In this lesson we will set out to put things in a visual context with a list of how di can combine with definite articles, and we'll give you some examples from Yabla videos, so you can hear them in context.

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Here is how we combine the preposition di with the various definite articles (that all mean "the"): The main thing to notice is that the i in di is transformed in e.

di + il = del

di + lo = dello

di + l’ = dell’

di + la = della

di + i = dei

di + gli = degli

di + le = delle

 

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Let's look at each combination in context:

Del is the combination of the preposition di and the definite article il.

It will usually precede a masculine noun or the adjective that describes it.

In tutte le città del mondo ci sono ristoranti italiani.

In all the cities of the world, there are Italian restaurants.

Caption 8, Adriano Pizzeria Pinocchio - Part 1

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In the following example, note that before the noun there is an adjective, famoso (famous) which also agrees with the masculine noun. 

Pinocchio è il protagonista del famoso romanzo dell'autore Collodi:

Pinocchio is the main character of the famous novel by the author Collodi:

Caption 29, Adriano Pizzeria Pinocchio - Part 1

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Dello is the combination of the preposition di and the masculine singular definite article lo. Note that there are two L's!

Note that there is another example of dello in the title of the episode. Translated it would be: The shark's gold.

Chi ha aggiustato la porta dello spogliatoio?

Who fixed the door of the locker room?

Caption 30, La Ladra Ep. 3 - L'oro dello squalo - Part 13

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In the following example, even though we say il colore, not lo colore,  we do use di plus the definite article lo and it becomes dello. This is because before the noun, we have the adjective stesso which begins with an s + the consonant t. So we need the definite article lo. Like when we say: È lo stesso (It's all the same). That's something to remember. Later in this lesson, we will look at a similar construction with a feminine noun.

E una bella borsa dello stesso colore.

And a nice handbag of the same color.

Caption 37, Corso di italiano con Daniela I colori - Part 3

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Dell' is the combination of the preposition di and the singular masculine (and in some cases feminine) definite article l'.

Le pulizie della casa, dell'appartamento si chiamano anche "faccende domestiche" oppure "pulizie casalinghe".

The cleaning of the house, of the apartment, is also called "housework" or "household cleaning."

Captions 32-33, Marika spiega Le pulizie di primavera - Part 1

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Sometimes this same construction turns out to be feminine!  It's a truncated version of della, which we'll look at next.This can be a headache for learners:

Io mi occupo della contabilità dell'azienda.

I take care of the accounts of the business.

Caption 17, Il Commissario Manara S1EP11 - Beato tra le donne - Part 3

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Della is the combination of the preposition di and the feminine singular definite article la. Just like dello, we double the L.

La grande tragedia della guerra lascia memorie che non si cancellano.

The great tragedy of the war leaves memories that don't get erased.

Caption 43, L'arte della cucina Terre d'Acqua - Part 5

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Now let's move on to di plus a plural definite article.

Dei is the combination of the preposition di and the plural masculine definite article i.

Da quando in qua un uomo si deve occupare dei neonati?

Since when should a man have to take care of [the] newborns?

Caption 16, Adriano Olivetti La forza di un sogno Ep.2 - Part 12

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Note that Italian uses the definite article, where in English, none is necessary. This is common and takes some effort in getting used to it.

 

In the next example, we have the combined preposition followed by the possessive pronoun miei (the plural masculine form of mio).  Here too, the article is there (attached to di = dei ).

È una ricetta dei miei nonni che coltivavano le arance di Sicilia.

It's a recipe from my grandparents, who cultivated Sicilian oranges.

Caption 12, Adriano L'arancello di Marina

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Degli is the combination of the preposition di and the plural masculine definite article gli.

Degli is hard to pronounce for lots of folks. Here, too, the definite article is included, while English leaves it out.

Pensate che il novanta percento degli italiani beve caffè quotidianamente.

Just think that ninety percent of Italians drink coffee on a daily basis.

Caption 7, Adriano Il caffè

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Delle is the combination of the preposition di and the plural feminine definite article le.

Sarà la forma delle note a stabilire qual è la durata dei suoni,

It's the shape of the notes that determines the duration of the sounds,

Caption 37, A scuola di musica con Alessio - Part 3

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Practice:

If you look at the transcript of just about any video, you will be able to pick out several examples of these preposizioni articolate. Look for common phrases and start repeating them, getting them into your repertoire.  

 

For other preposizioni articolate, check out:

Using the preposition a with a definite article

Using the preposition in with a definite article

 

Meanwhile, if you have any questions or doubts, write to us at newsletter@yabla.com

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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.

 

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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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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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