How to use Prepositions To Talk about the Time in Italian

These linguistic tools are essential for pinpointing moments in time, durations, and intervals. Let’s embark on a journey to master the use of prepositions when talking about time in Italian.

The exact moment of an action

To indicate precisely the time of an event (date / season / day / time)

INWith an indication of timeSono nato nel 1960
Nel 2010 mio figlio andrà a scuola
PERIf something has not yet happened)Torno a casa per le 8
ABefore the names of important days (Easter / Christmas)A Natale vado a casa di mia zia
DIBefore days of the week and words “day”, “night”, “morning”, “afternoon” and “evening”Di sera guardo la TV

The beginning and the end of a period of time

These prepositions indicate the beginning and end of a period of time

DA ….. A When an action takes place along the whole period Il bar è chiuso dalle 12 alle 14 (The bar is closed from 12pm to 2pm)
TRA … E …. When an action takes place over a specified period of time

Mario arriverà tra le 5 e le 6 -> in un momento qualsiasi tra le 5 e le 6

– (Mario will arrive between 5 and 6 – anytime between 5 and 6)

Mario resterà a Roma tra Natale e Capodanno -> tutto il periodo di tempo che va da Natale a Capodanno

(Mario will stay in Rome between Christmas and New Year -> the entire period of time from Christmas to New Year)

The amount of Time

DATo specify a period of time between the past to the presentRoma esiste da più di 2500 anni -> esiste ancora adesso
(Rome has existed for more than 2500 years -> still exists now)
INTo specify the period of time within an action takes placeLa luce arriva sulla terra in 8 minuti (Light reaches the earth in 8 minutes)
PERTo specify how long the subject continues do somethingL’aereo deve volare per 8 ore
-> continua a volare per 8 ore.
(The plane has to fly for 8 hours ->
continues flying for 8 hours)

Difference between IN/PER

Between In and For, when they indicate time, there is a very small difference.

⇒ Ho letto il libro in 2 ore (I read the book in 2 hours)
(I finished reading the book in two hours, the whole book has been read)

Ho letto il libro per 2 ore (I read the book for 2 hours)
(I read the book but I have not finished yet)

Indication of Time

To tell the time we use:

A When you need to provide the exact time Oggi mi sono alzata alle sette
(Today I got up at seven)
TRA/FRA When you want to indicate how soon an action takes place Esco tra un’ora
(I’ll be leaving in an hour)


How to use Prepositions To Talk about the Time in Italian
PREPOSITIONS MINDMAP click on the map to zoom

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