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Lesson Transcript


Hi everybody! Marika here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Italian questions.
The Question
The question for this lesson is: What's the difference between in and a?
In and a are two Italian prepositions. While each preposition has its own function, sometimes it’s not easy to tell w hich one to use. In fact, both in and a can indicate place, but when should I use one instead of the other?
The first point you should remember is that a is used before the name of a city, town, or small island. In, on the other hand, is used in front of continents, states, nations, reg ions, and larger islands. So you’d say...
A Roma
A New York
A Cipro
But you’d say...
In Italia
In Europa
In Sicilia
We use in before the name of a street or square.
Abito in via del Corso.
“I live in via del Corso.”
Incontriamoci in piazza del Plebiscito.
“Let’s meet in Plebiscito Square.”
We also use in with the names of shops.
L’ho comprato in farmacia.
“I bought it at the drugstore.”
Sono in pasticceria.
“I’m at the cake shop.”
Sto andando in edicola.
“I’m going to the newsstand.”
Besides these tips, like many other Italian grammar points, there are no fixed rules, but here’s a list of expressions using in or a, so you can start getting used to them.
Sono: a scuola, a casa, a letto, a teatro, al cinema, al mare.
“I am: at school, at home, in bed, at the theater, at the cinema, at the seaside.”
Sono: in banca, in chiesa, in classe, in montagna, in città, in ufficio, in biblioteca.
“I am: at the bank, at church, in the class, in the mountains, in the city, in the office, at the library.”


Pretty interesting, right?
If you have any more questions, please leave a comment below!
A presto! “See you soon!”