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Italian Language/Italian preposition "in"

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Question
Dear Maria,

Would you please help me to test my understanding of the use of the definite article with the Italian preposition “in” by telling me if the following are correct or not:

in chiesa  =  in the church

nella bella chiesa  =  in the beautiful church

in casa  =  in the house

nella bella casa  =  in the beautiful house

nella casa di Rich  =  in Rich’s house

in California  =  in California

nel bel California  = in beautiful California.

Vado in macchina.  =  I am going by car.

Vado nella macchina bianca.  =  I am going by the white car.

I am trying to make sure that I am correct in thinking that the simple preposition “in” is used before certain buildings (such as - chiesa), before the word “casa”, before the names of American states (such as - California), and when “in” is used with means of transportation (such as - macchina).   

But, when the Italian preposition “in” is used with certain buildings, the word casa, names of American states, and means of transportation that are modified – then the definite article must be included as shown in the examples above.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich,

apart from “Nel bel California”  that should have been “Nella bella California” because the name California is feminine,  the other Italian expressions are correct, though I have to tell you that “Vado nella macchina bianca” does not correspond to “I am going by the white car” which in Italian would be “Vado con la macchina bianca”,  where the preposition “con” introduces an indirect object of means as it indicates that somebody is using a white car to go somewhere.

If in Italian we say “Vado nella macchina bianca”, it would mean that I am to get in a white car.


So, you are  correct in thinking that the simple preposition “in” is used before certain buildings (such as - chiesa), before the word “casa”, before the names of American states (such as - California), and when “in” is used with means of transportation (such as - macchina).   

Also, you are correct in thinking that,  when the Italian preposition “in” is used with certain buildings, the word casa, names of American states, and means of transportation that are modified – then the definite article must be included as shown in the examples above, apart from  the inaccuracies that I’ve pointed out.

All the best,

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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