L06: Pronouns used as objects of prepositions

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L06: Pronouns used as objects of prepositions

Post by Peter »

PRONOUNS USED AS OBJECTS OF PREPOSITIONS (Pronomi usati come oggetto delle preposizioni)

These are known as disjunctive or emphatic pronouns and make use of prepositions such as to, for, with, on, than, etc.

me me
you te
you Lei
him lui
her lei
it esso (m), essa (f)

us noi
you voi
them loro, essi (m), esse (f)

NOTE: Essi and esse are used very rarely in modern day Italian. Esso and essa are not used much but you will still see them now and again.

We use pronouns as objects of prepositions in many contexts. Examples are:

There is a letter for you, John
C’è una lettera per te, Giovanni

Do you want to come to the cinema with us, Andrew?
Vuoi venire al cinema con noi, Andrea?

We go on holiday with them every year
Andiamo in vacanza con loro ogni anno

My brother is taller than me
Mio fratello è più alto di me

Nobody would do the things I do for you (plural)
Nessuno farebbe le cose che faccio per voi

You can count on me!
Potete contare su di me!

Note the use of two prepositions in the above example. The preposition su is one of several that require another preposition before the use of the pronoun. Others that have this requirement include senza (without), sopra (above, over), sotto (beneath, under), contro (against), dentro (in, inside), dopo (after), dietro (behind), davanti (ahead, in front of), insieme (together with).

Dopo di che
After which

Davanti a lui stava in piedi sua moglie, per niente contenta
In front of him stood his wife, not at all happy.

Andrò al cinema insieme a Margherita
I will go to the cinema together with Margaret

Note, however, that if you said Margaret and I will go to the cinema together, you would say Io e Margherita andremo al cinema insieme. There is no need for a second preposition in this construction.

Disjunctive pronouns must be used when there are two or more indirect pronouns, for example:

Cercano loro non noi
They are looking for them, not (for) us

(Cercare means to look for, with the preposition effectively included in the meaning of the verb.)

Ho mandato l’invito a lei, non a lui
I sent the invitation to her, not to him

When used with se stesso/a/i/e, disjunctive pronouns convey the emphatic myself, yourself, himself etc. See also Reflexive Pronouns for further information about the use of se stesso etc.


Pietro pensa solo a se stesso e mai agli altri
Peter thinks only of himself and never about others

Sei sempre più preoccupata di te stessa che di qualcun’altro
You are always more concerned about yourself than about anyone else

Mamma e papà non pensano mai a se stessi, solo a noi, loro figli
Mum and Dad never think of themselves, only of us, their children

This use of the disjunctive pronouns is not reflexive and must not be confused with reflexive pronouns. Instead they give greater emphasis to the subject of the action.

There is more information about Prepositions elsewhere in Lezioni Gratuite.

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