Italian Adverbs of Place
The adverbs of place are used to specify the place where an action occurs, the position of an object or a person in space, and the distance of a person or object from the speaker or listener.
The adverb is an invariable part of speech that modifies or specifies the meaning of words. It differs from the adjective because it is a fixed word that does not agree with the name.
The main adverbs of place in Italian are:
- Dentro (in), fuori (out), sopra (above), sotto (below), dietro (behind), davanti (in front), vicino (near), accanto (beside), lontano (far), intorno (around), su (up), giù (down)
They are adverbs of place when they modify a verb.
They are prepositions when they precede a noun and connect it to other elements of the sentence:
Vieni fuori con me?/ Are you coming out with me?
Dove sono gli occhiali? Sono sul tavolo. /Where are the glasses? Above the table.
Facciamo un giro intorno alla casa per cercare il cane del vicino./ Let’s go around the house to look for the neighbour’s dog.
- qui, qua (here), lì, là (there)
and their compounds quassù/up here, qua sotto/below, etc., indicate the distance of a person or object from the speaker or listener.
Qui and its compounds (qui sotto, qui sopra) indicate a well-defined place, close to the speaker and less near or far from the listener.
Qua and its compounds (quaggiù/down here, quassù/up here) indicate a less precise place, close to the speaker and less close or far from the listener
Vieni qui?/ Would you come here?
Dove sono le tue ciabatte? Devono essere qua sotto il tavolo/Where are your slippers? They must be here under the table.
Lì indicates a well-defined place, away from the speaker and listener.
Là and its compounds (laggiù/ over there, lassù/up there) indicate a generic area, away from the speaker and listener.
This difference is particularly noticeable in constructions with prepositions:
Di là dal fiume – Di lì dal fiume/ Beyond the river
Vado di là in camera – Di lì in camera/ I’m going to the bedroom
Laggiù in fondo al mar./Over there at the bottom of the sea.
Sei già lì? Aspettami 5 minuti./ Are you already there? Wait for me 5 minutes.
- via (away) e altrove (elsewhere)
express the general estrangement from a place:
Vado via presto/ I’m leaving soon.
Paolo non riesce a concentrarsi, la sua testa è altrove/ Paolo can’t concentrate, his head is elsewhere.
- ci, vi, ne
In some contexts, the particles ci, vi, ne, can be used as adverbs of place:
ci and vi mean in that place;
Nello zaino non ci sono più libri./There are no more books in the backpack.
Ne means from this, from that place:
Me ne vado/ I’m leaving.
Now you are ready for some practice!
Italian Adverbs of Place: 3 Grammar Exercises