Italian Language/use of chi


Dear Maria,  

Would you please help me with the following sentence:

Tra chi c’era rivaltà?
Between whom was there rivalry?

Is there any specific rule that requires the use of the preposition “tra”  before “chi” this sentence?    

I was wondering if the use of the linking verb “era” in this sentence  requires the use of a preposition before “chi”

Thank you very much.



Dear Rich,

in the sentence “Tra chi c’era rivalità?” it is not the use of the linking verb “era” that  requires the preposition “tra” before “chi”, but simply the fact that the sentence refers to a potential rivalry between two persons or among many persons.

See for example:”La rivalità tra loro due crebbe sempre di più col passare del tempo”; “Appare chiaro che essi sono tra loro rivali”; “Noto una grande rivalità tra i miei tre figli”; “Tra i candidati c’era una dura rivalità  per quel lavoro”, etc.

In short, there is no  specific rule that requires the use of the preposition “tra” before  “chi” in “Tra chi c’era rivalità?”,  apart from the concept of rivalry.

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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