Italian Language/preposition

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QUESTION: Dear Maria,

My question is about the use of the preposition “a” in the following two sentences:

(1)  Molte grazie di avermi aiutato a capire la collocazione corretta dell’avverbio “tanto” in frasi italiane. (Thank you very much for having helped me to understand the correct positioning of the adverb “tanto” in Italian sentences.)

(2)  Ma, è possibile anche a usare il verbo transitivo - “unire” nella la voca passiva?  (But, is it also possible to use the transitive verb “unire” in the passive voice?)

I placed the preposition “a” before the verb “capire” in the first sentence and the preposition “a” before the verb “usare” in the second sentence, but I did not know if this would be correct or not.  

Can you please verify for me whether or not this is correct?  

I used the preposition “a” in these sentences mostly because I thought that using the preposition “di” or the preposition “per” would be incorrect.  But, I do not know the reason why the preposition “a” should be used.  It just correct to me to do so.

If it is correct to have used the preposition “a”  -  can you please tell me why this is correct.

Thank you very, very much.  Your help is very much appreciated.

Sincerely,

Rich

ANSWER: Dear Rich,

the use of the preposition “a” in the  sentence (1) is correct, while  it is wrong in the sentence (2) where you should have written “ .. è  anche possibile usare il verbo transitivo  “unire” nella  voce passiva?”

In fact, the preposition “a” before the verb “capire” in the first sentence  is correct as it depends on the verb “aiutare”, whereas the preposition “a” before the verb “usare” in the second sentence is wrong because it depends on the adjective “possibile“ which has no preposition when it is followed by an infinitive such as in “Fu possibile aiutarlo”(  it was  possible to help him), “Non mi è possibile venire da te”, etc.


In short,  the reason why the preposition “a”  must  be used in “Molte grazie di avermi aiutato a capire...” is that the verb “aiutare” requires the preposition “a” before the infinitive as in “Mi aiutò a realizzare i miei sogni”, “La fede mi ha aiutato a superare il dolore per la morte dei miei genitori”, etc.

On the contrary the reason why the preposition “a”  must not  be used in “..è  anche possibile usare..” is that adjective “possibile“ takes  no preposition when it is followed by an infinitive as in “Sarà possibile incontrarci nei prossimi giorni?”.

All the best,
Maria


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Maria,

Thank you for your help with this question.  I hope you will not mind a follow-up question.  

Can you please tell me if it is true that the verb "essere" never requires a preposition before the infinitive form of another verb.

In other words - is it always correct to say:  "essere + infinitive"?  

I have learned in the past that certain verbs such as volere, dovere, piacere, and preferire are never followed by a preposition before the  infinitive form of another verb.  I was wondering if this is also true for the verb "essere".

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich,

it is true that the verb "essere" usually requires no preposition before the infinitive form of another verb.

Sometimes, however, the verb "essere" can require a preposition before the infinitive form of another verb as in e.g. “Sono stati a trovarla all'ospedale”(They have been to see her in hospital), “C'era molta gente a riceverlo”, “E’ tutto da verificare” (it remains to be seen), “Non sono fatti da sottovalutare” (they are not facts to be underestimated),  “E’ una cosa da fare subito” (it is something to be done at once ),  “La camicia è da lavare”, “C'è da mangiare per tutti”, “C'è da diventare matti”.

This happens  in the following cases:

1)when “essere” means “andare” as in “Sono stati a trovarla all'ospedale” which stands for “Sono andati a trovarla all'ospedale”.

2)when “essere” means “dovere” as in “Non sono fatti da sottovalutare” which is the same as “Questi fatti non devono essere sottovalutati”

3)when “essere” carries a sense of obligation or necessity  as in “E’ una cosa da fare subito”, “La camicia è da lavare”.

4)when “essere” stands for “essercene abbastanza” as in “C'è da diventare matti”  which is the same as “Ce n’è abbastanza da diventare matti” (it is enough to drive you mad).

5)when "essere" means "esserci" as in “C'era molta gente a riceverlo”.

Hope all is clear enough.

Kind regards,
Maria

Italian Language

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Maria

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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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Over 25 years teaching experience.

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

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