Italian Language/indirect objects

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QUESTION: Dear Maria,

I hope you had a very nice vacation!!  

Can you please help me to understand the use the indirect object -  “al ristorante” in the following sentence:  “Bevo il caffè al ristorante”   (I drink coffee at the restaurant).

Can you please tell me if the articulated preposition “al” is being used to link the verb “bevo” to the noun “ristorante”?  Is “yes”, does this mean that the choice of preposition in this sentence is determined by the verb “bevo”?

Or, is is better for me to think of “al” being used to link the two nouns in this sentence  (the noun “caffè” to the noun “ristorante”) ?  If “yes” – can you please tell me what is used to determine which preposition to use.

In either case,  does this result in the formation of the indirect object  - “al ristorante” that is used to modify the verb “bevo”?

Can you also please tell me if it is also possible to say -  “Bevo il caffè in ristorante”  (I drink coffee at the restaurant).

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

Rich

ANSWER: Dear Rich,

Actually the use of the articulated preposition “al” in the sentence “Bevo il caffè al ristorante”  is being used to link the verb “bevo” to the noun “ristorante”, but  this does not  mean that the choice of preposition in this sentence is determined by the verb “bevo”, since we say, for example,:“Mangio al ristorante”, “Pranzerò al ristorante”, “Vedrò gli amici al ristorante”, “Cenerò al ristorante”.

Therefore, as you can see, the preposition “al” is not being used to link the two nouns in this sentence  (i.e. the noun “caffè” to the noun “ristorante”), since e.g. we say “Vedrò gli amici al ristorante”, where the preposition “al” is not being used to link the two nouns  “amici” and “ristorante”.  


As for  “Bevo il caffè in ristorante”, the use of the preposition “in” is absolutely  wrong in this context, where we could say at most “Bevo il caffè nel ristorante” which however sounds not so good, for the best wording is just “Bevo il caffè al ristorante”.

Best regards,

Maria



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

QUESTION: Dear Maria,

Thank you for your help with this question.    

Can you please help me with a follow-up question.

In your answer you explained that “al” sounds better with the noun “ristorante”.  

Is this true for all verbs?    Is the articulated preposition “al” used with the noun “ristorante” regardless of which verb is being used in the sentence?

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich,

In a previous answer I said  that “al” sounds better with the noun “ristorante”, but this is not true for all verbs, as the articulated preposition “al” is not used with the noun “ristorante” regardless of which verb is being used in the sentence, as you can see e.g. in “Nel ristorante c’erano molti invitati” or  “Uscì in fretta dal ristorante” where there is not the preposition "al".

In short, you should reread what I wrote in my previous answer about the use of prepositions in Italian.

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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