Italian Language/use of "di"

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Question
Dear Maria,

Can you please explain why the preposition “di” has been used to say “from” in the following sentences:  “Riportare una terzina di Dante” (to quote a tercet from Dante) and “Citare una terzina di Dante” (to quote a tercet from Dante).

I ask this question because I had thought that the preposition “da” is used in all cases to say “from”  except that the preposition “di” is used to say “from” when talking about “where a person comes from”  as in “Sono di Roma” and when talking about “family origin”  as in “È di buona famiglia”.

It would help me very much if you would please explain why “di” has been used instead of “da” in the above sentences. I hope that this will help me to be able to correctly use "di" in other sentences.

I very much appreciate your taking the time to explain this to me.  Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich,

the preposition “di” has been used  in the  sentences “Riportare una terzina di Dante”  and “Citare una terzina di Dante”  simply because in this context the preposition “di”  introduces a “complemento di specificazione”, i.e.  a  possessive genitive as in e.g. “Dante’s tercet” /”the tercet of Dante”   or  “Caesar's enemies”/The enemies of Caesar”.

See also:“Le odi del Carducci”  (Carducci’s odes), “Le liriche di Leopardi”, “Il romanzo del Manzoni”, etc.

Anyway the preposition “di” can also be used  to say “from”  when talking about “where a person comes from”  as in “Sono di Roma” and when talking about “family origin”  as in “È di buona famiglia” just as you say.


Best 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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