In Italian, the preposition “by” is typically expressed as “da.” However, there are a few different ways to translate “by” depending on the context in which it’s used. Here are some of the most common translations of “by” in Italian:
Usually expressed in Italian with prepositions (or expressions of place) of place vicino a / accanto a, in English, we express it with the preposition by.
Le chiavi sono vicino alla porta (the keys are by the door)
Learn more about expressions of places:
Usually expressed in Italian with prepositions of time entro and per.
You can replace the time (10 am) with words indicating the day of the week/month/year.
Arriveremo a New York entro/per lunedì (We will arrive in New York by Monday)
Learn more about prepositions of time:
Usually expressed in Italian with prepositions di a and per
You can use a different kinds of measures.
Nel mio lavoro sono pagato a ore (In my job, I’m paid by the hour)
Il negozio vende l’olio al litro (The shop sells the oil by the liter)
Tre per due fa sei (Three by two is six)
Usually expressed in Italian with prepositions in, con or per.
You can replace “treno” with any other means (transport or other means (of things/tools).
Vado a scuola in bicicletta (I go to school by bike)
Vado in ufficio con l’autobus (I go to the office by bus)
Devo contattare l’ufficio informazioni per telefono (I need to contact the information office by phone)
Usually expressed in Italian with prepositions di, da or per.
Example: – (cause)
Mi dispiace, ho aperto la tua lettera per errore (I’m sorry, I opened your mail by mistake)
Example: – (agent)
Al teatro ho visto un’opera di Verdi (At the theater I saw an opera by Verdi)
Using BY before an author or creator (agent) in sentences with passive construction:
L’albero è stato tagliato da Paolo (The tree was cut by Paolo)
La Divina Commedia è stata scritta da Dante Alighieri (The Divina Commedia was written by Dante Alighieri)
fatto a mano
per via aerea
by air mail
by all means
neanche per sogno
by no means
uno alla volta
one by one
fianco a fianco
side by side
imparare a memoria
learn by heart
suonare (la musica) a orecchio
playing (music) by ear
Overall, while “da” is the most common translation of “by” in Italian, there are a few different ways to express it depending on the context in which it’s used. With practice, you’ll soon become comfortable using the appropriate translation for the given situation.