Italian Prepositions: How to Say Where You Are From

You may think that saying where you come from is the easiest thing, however, many students (even the most advanced ones) still get this wrong. Prepositions don't spare anyone, that's why I am here to talk about it!




Di dove sei? (Where are you from?) and Da dove vieni? (Where do you come from?) are definitely the most common questions foreigners get asked in Italy. We want to know where you come from!


But you want to make sure you answer this question correctly! How can you do that? Well, it's very simple and you even have 3 different options!

  1. Essere + adjective of nationality

  2. Essere + di + city where you come from

  3. Venire + da + country


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1. Essere + adjective of nationality


This is very simple and no preposition is required for this one (yay!). For example, I would say: sono italiano (= I am Italian).


My advice is to look up your adjective of nationality (you can use my favorite online dictionary (WordReference). You need to keep two things in mind:


1. If the adjective you found ends in -o then you'll need to change the last vowel according to the gender of the subject. I say sono italiano because I am a man. If you are a woman you would change the -o into -a and say sono italiana. Let me give you a couple of more examples:


  • Sono americano = I am American (man)

  • Sono americana = I am American (woman)

  • Sono spagnolo = I am Spanish (man)

  • Sono spagnola = I am Spanish (woman)

  • Sono russo = I am Russian (man)

  • Sono russa = I am Russian (woman)

  • Sono brasiliano = I am Brazilian (man)

  • Sono brasiliana = I am Brazilian (woman)


2. If the adjective you found ends in -e, then you won't need to change it. For example:


  • Sono francese = I am French (both men and women)

  • Sono inglese = I am English (both men and women)

  • Sono canadese = I am Canadian (both men and women)


P.S. As you can see we don't capitalize adjectives of nationality.


2. Essere + di + city


If you want to say you come from *any city in the world*, you just need to say sono di + city. For example:


  • Sono di Milano = I am from Milan

  • Sono di New York = I am from New York

  • Sono di Londra = I am from London

  • Sono di Parigi = I am from Paris


This is extremely important: SONO DI is used with cities only! You wouldn't use it with countries. Saying SONO DI ITALIA is very, very wrong! So is SONO DA ITALIA, wrong!


The verb essere can't be used with the preposition DA, only with DI, and the whole expression SONO DI is preferably used with cities.



3. Venire + da + country/city


First of all, you need to know that the verb venire is irregular, so the first person singular is going to be vengo.


Then, you would use vengo with da + definite article + country, or da + city. If you don't know how to combine the preposition DA + definite articles, this list below might help:


Da + il = dal

Da + lo = dallo

Da + i = dai

Da + gli = dagli

Da + la = dalla

Da + le = dalle

Da + l' = dall'



Since I come from Italy, I would say: vengo dall'Italia. Italia is considered feminine and singular, so the right article would be L' that combined with the preposition da, forms dall'.


Let me give you some more examples:

  • Vengo dagli Stati Uniti = I come from the United States

  • Vengo dall'Inghilterra = I come from England

  • Vengo dal Brasile = I come from Brazil

  • Vengo dalla Francia = I come from France


Vengo da can be used with cities as well, with no article. For example:

  • Vengo da Milano = I come from Milan

  • Vengo da Roma = I come from Rome

  • Vengo da Washington DC = I come from Washington DC



And what about you? Di dove sei? Get in touch with me and let me know where you come from! A presto!


Stefano


Do you want to take your Italian to the next level? Check out my Online Italian course for beginners "Be Italiano" and start learning today to become a real Italiano, like me!
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