Italian Language/preposition "di"


Dear Lauren,

Thank you, again, for your help with my previous question.  I hope you will not mind another question.

I am trying to figure out the grammatical reason for placing the preposition “di” after the noun “ora” before an infinitive as in the following expressions:   

ora di partire  =  time to go
č ora di lavorare  =  it’s  time to work

I understand that the preposition “di” is placed between two nouns as in “ora di pranzo” to form a “complemento di specificazione”, and that “di” is often used to link an infinitive form of a verb to another verb  -  but, I’m not sure about the preposition “di” being used to link an infinitive form of a verb to a noun as in -  č ora di lavorare.

Can you please tell me if this is commonly done, and  if there is a name for this type of  construction?   

Thank you very much.



Hi Rich,

'Di' is a compulsory element in this phrase which must always be used. Without the connector 'di' the sentence would have little sense on its own. I have managed to find an example from a text book by Bill Dotson Smith called 'Aspects of Language' where he explains that the use of 'di' in this type of sentence is simply structural and for reasons of linking (legamento)

The best way to understand it would be to think of the sentence in a very literal sense - 'it is the time of leaving' or 'it is the time of working' - thinking of it like this may make it clearer to understand why 'di' is used.

As far as I know, there is not a specific name for this type of construction. However, whenever describing time with 'ora' it will be necessary to use it. Hence, the other example 'non vedo l'ora di mangiarlo' - I can't wait to eat it (literally 'I do not see the hour of eating it')

Hope this helps,
Kind regards,

Italian Language

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Lauren O' Hagan


Although not my mother tongue, I have spoken Italian fluently for more than 12 years so I am very confident to answer any questions about the Italian language. I am also competent in Roman Dialect if there are any questions relating to this.


MA Applied Linguistics First Class Honours in Modern Language Studies (Linguistics, Italian, Spanish) Received the top grade in the whole of UK for GCSE Italian, receiving a letter of congratulations from the Italian Consulate Completed my two-year A Level in 1 year with a grade A country. Carried out many translation jobs for a wide range of clients and topics including self-help, literature and exam papers. For personal reference, I have also translated Federico Moccia's Tre Metri Sopra Il Cielo and 2 of Francesco Totti's book.

El Pensador, University of Bristol

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