I've been wondering why it's okay to say "Sono in cucina" without any article while it's necessary to say "Sono nel negozio", for example. With what nouns can we simply say "in"?

  • 4
    Welcome to Italian.SE! You could also say Sono in negozio, it's perfectly correct.
    – abarisone
    Jul 30, 2019 at 6:36
  • 2
    Related question: italian.stackexchange.com/questions/4079/preposition-a-or-al, maybe a duplicate.
    – Charo
    Jul 30, 2019 at 7:25
  • Maybe the double “n” is felt hard to pronounce by whom told you that “sono nel negozio” is required. In standard Italian there is a difference between “sono in negozio” and “sono nel negozio”; basically, in the former case, the hearer knows what shop is meant, in the latter case a further specification is usually needed.
    – egreg
    Jul 30, 2019 at 11:10

1 Answer 1


In the sentence "Sono nel negozio" the word "nel" is an Italian composed preposition, nel = in + il.

So, "Sono nel negozio" works like "Sono in negozio" and "Sono in cucina" works like "Sono nella cucina".

Specifically you use only in when the owner of the place you refer is clear or familiar. Instead, you use nel when referring to where the location you are talking about is located.

"Sono nel negozio di scarpe" can be used inside a common store implying that the store is in a bigger place like a shopping center, "Sono in negozio" usually is used when I am in my own store, or in a store I work in. "Sono in cucina" when I'm in my kitchen. "Sono nella cucina" if I'm a visitor in a house for sale and someone is looking for me (es.: sono nella cucina della casa che sto visitando).

  • It's not clear to me if "essere in cucina" is used when the owner of the place is clear or when the speaker is the owner. Could you make it clear in your answer? If I'm a visitor in a house, the owner of the place is clear, yet you used "nella cucina", which makes me think the first rule is not valid. Jul 3, 2020 at 19:48
  • @AlanEvangelista hi, I edited the answer to add details, I wanted to focus on the context. in or nel are slightly different in common speech, I hope i gave you the right interpretation. Jul 28, 2020 at 17:09

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