As mentioned on many previous occasions, I think prepositions are weird.
I think you will agree the more you learn them and use them in Italian. That being said, I also think they are pretty cool. That’s why I spent so much time creating the 7-Week Italian Prepositions Challenge.
I am not prejudiced against weird things. Okay, now that we have that settled, let’s move on.
What are some unexpected uses for the preposition “da”?
First of all, you should know that “da” could be translated in English as:
Oddly enough, it’s used in lots of ways to mean “to” in English.
Let me elaborate with examples.
1.) Is it “occhiali DA sole” or “occhiali DI sole”?
It’s most definitely “occhiali DA sole”.
Why isn’t it “di”?
Well, in my experience, “da” is used for things that are purpose-based, like the glasses are for the sun or the glasses are for reading with “occhiali da lettura”.
Unfortunately this isn’t the most clear cut explanation that I’ve ever made, so it may be a matter of just learning them as you come into contact with them.
I know. That answer isn’t fun.
Here are some other examples of “da” being used in this format:
— Campo da tennis – Tennis court
— Abito da sera – Evening dress
— Cucchiaio da minestra – Soup spoon
— Cane da tartufi – Truffle-hunting dog
2.) Is it “Hai tante cose DA organizzare” or “Hai tante cose A organizzare”?
It’s always going to be “hai tante cose DA organizzare”.
In English, we would translate this as “You have many things TO organize”, but in Italian, it’s literally “You have many things FROM organizing”.
I know. Doesn’t make sense.
That’s okay. Nobody said it ever had to.
You will get a feel for when to use “da”. The more you read, listen & speak, the more natural it will become.
Here are similar constructions where “da” means “to”:
— Ne ho di cose da raccontarti. – I have many things TO tell you.
— Oggi non ho niente da fare. – Today I have nothing TO do.
— Non è facile da spiegare. – It’s not easy TO explain.
— Ho molto da dire sull’abuso di droghe. – I have a lot to say about drug abuse.
3.) Is it “AL medico” or “DAL medico”?
It’s definitely DAL medico, which in English translates as “to the doctor”.
For example: “Vado dal medico” – I’m going to the doctor’s office.
Literally, in Italian, this may sound like “from the doctor”, which is very confusing since it describes the act of going TO the doctor’s office and NOT leaving it.
It could also be thought of as stopping BY the doctor’s office, if that helps make things less strange for you.
Here are some other locations that require “da” before them:
— Dal macellaio – To the butcher
— Dal fruttivendolo – To the greengrocer
— Dal salumiere – To the deli
— Dal tabaccaio – To the tobacco store
— Dal panettiere – To the bakery
Now speaking of strange prepositions to use before locations, we must give the preposition “in” some space to shine.
Click here to read 3 Unexpected Places Where You Must Use the Preposition “In”
Have questions or comments? Write them below!