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Italian Language/use of preposition "a"


Dear Maria,

Thank you very much for all of your help.

My question is about the following sentences:
Alla linea 1 nella quale Gabriella dice “Andiamo in treno?” la traduzione corretta è : “Do we go by train?”

Can you please tell me if the following translation is correct:
In line 1 in which Gabriella says “Andiamo in treno?” the correct translation is: “Do we go by train?”

I am having a very hard time trying to understand why the preposition “a” has been used before the word “linea”  in this sentence. Can you please help me to understand this choice of preposition.  Is the preposition “a” always used before the word “linea”?  Or, Am I translating this sentence incorrectly -  with the correct translation being “At line 1 in which …”  ?   Is it possible to also use the preposition “in” and say “Nella linea 1 nella quale …”

I am sorry for so many questions, but I can become quite confused with the choice of preposition in Italian sentences.  I believe that using the correct preposition is very important.  I hope to be able to better understand this sentence so that I can apply this understanding and reasoning to other sentences.

Thank you



Dear Rich,

In Italian we prefer to say “Alla linea 1 nella quale Gabriella dice “Andiamo in treno?” .....” instead of “Nella linea  1....”, as we are making  a list.
So, the only thing I can tell you is that the preposition “a” is  used before the word “linea” when we are using this noun in  a list.

Otherwise, the use of a preposition  before “linea” depends on  the meaning of this word in a  context.

For example:“In linea  di massima “(broadly speaking/ as a general rule), “In linea di principio” ( in principle), “Essere in prima linea” ( to be in / on  the front line),"Alla linea 10 del libro di testo si legge...."( At line 10 of the course book we read...), etc.

With regard to your translation, I think that it is better to say “At line 1..” instead of “In line 1...”, but I’m not so expert in English that I can suggest you the correct use of the prepositions because they  are as  difficult  for me as they are for you in Italian.

To conclude,  I know that you are  quite confused with the choice of prepositions in Italian sentences, but it is impossible to give you a fixed rule about how to use the Italian  prepositions, and thus I recommend that you consult the dictionary in order to learn from  the examples the correct use of the prepositions.

Maybe you could send me a list of many English sentences where there are some prepositions that you have translated  into Italian, so that I can tell you whether they are correct or not.

Best regards,


Italian Language

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Italian is my mother tongue and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning Italian Language.


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I received my Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

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