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.
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
Let's look at each combination in context:
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 1Play Caption
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 1Play Caption
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 13Play Caption
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 3Play Caption
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 1Play Caption
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.Play Caption
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 5Play Caption
Now let's move on to di plus a plural definite article.
Da quando in qua un uomo si deve occupare dei neonati?
Since when should a man have to take care of [the] newborns?Play Caption
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 MarinaPlay Caption
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 caffèPlay Caption
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 3Play Caption
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:
Meanwhile, if you have any questions or doubts, write to us at email@example.com
When we look at a video about a place, the speaker often uses the verb trovare in its reflexive form trovarsi. Using trovarsi in this fashion might be hard to wrap our minds around, so let’s back up to the normal verb for a moment. Trovare means “to find” and is transitive, meaning it can take a direct object.
Per suo marito ha trovato una cintura marrone.
For her husband she found a brown belt.Play Caption
We can use the verb with ourself as an object much as we do in English:
Io non sono affatto sicuro di me, e non mi sono mai trovato in una situazione come questa, va bene?
I'm not sure of myself at all, and I've never found myself in a situation like this, all right?
Captions 9-10, Il Commissario Manara - S1EP11 - Beato tra le donne - Part 4Play Caption
If Luca Manara spoke English, he’d probably say “I’ve never been in a situation like this before, OK?” He would have simply used the verb “to be.” But Italians often use trovarsi, so it’s a good verb to understand. Of course, if you do use the verb essere, people will understand you anyway menomale (luckily)!
But then it gets a bit more peculiar. Here is Arianna telling us where she is: where she finds herself. She wasn’t lost; she’s just giving us her location.
Eccomi. Qui mi trovo vicino alla stazione Santa Maria Novella, in Piazza Santa Maria Novella.
Here I am. Here I am near the Santa Maria Novella Train Station in Piazza Santa Maria Novella.
Captions 25-26, In giro per l'Italia - Firenze - Part 3Play Caption
Instead of just saying: sono vicino alla stazione (I am near the station), she is referring to her geographical or physical position in that moment with trovarsi. It’s a little more specific than simply using the verb essere (to be).
In the previous example, trovarsi refers to a person, but trovarsi can also refer to an object, a place. English gets specific in a similar way by using “to be located,” “to be situated.”
When Marika plays the professoressa (teacher), she uses trovarsi to interrogate poor Anna. She just wants to know where Sardinia is.
Dove si trova questa regione?
Where is this region situated?Play Caption
Il porto di Maratea è un porto turistico. Si trova vicino alle isole Eolie, alla Sicilia, a Capri, all'i... a Sorrento.
The port of Maratea is a tourist seaport. It's situated near the Aeolian Islands, Sicily, Capri, the... Sorrento.
Captions 23-24, Antonio - Maratea, il portoPlay Caption
It’s also very common to use trovarsi to describe feelings or conditions. This is a bit tricky.
Abito in campagna, e senza macchina, mi trovo in difficoltà.
I live in the country, and without a car, it's hard. I have trouble.
Non mi trovo bene con questo telefonino.
I don’t like this phone. I don’t feel comfortable with this phone.
Ma per ora mi trovo bene qua, vediamo.
Well, for now, I'm happy here, we'll see.Play Caption
Ah, a proposito, come ti trovi da Ada?
Ah, by the way, how do you like it over at Ada's?Play Caption
Trovarsi can also be used reciprocally.
Ci troviamo da Letizia alle otto.
Let’s meet up [with each other] at Letizia’s place at eight.
For more on reflexive and reciprocal verbs, see Marika's lesson about reflexive and reciprocal verbs, and the written lesson Understanding the Reciprocal Reflexive Form.
The more you watch and listen to Italian, either on Yabla or in real life, the more you will notice trovarsi in all of its shadings. It’s a very popular verb!
Come ti trovi con Yabla (how are you managing with Yabla)? Facelo sapere (let us know) at firstname.lastname@example.org.