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In English, the prepositions "opposite" and "in front of" have a subtle difference:

  • opposite: in a position facing someone or something but with something between both (eg street, river, table)
  • in front of: close to the front of something or someone

Therefore, one would usually say "I am opposite the building" if he/she is on the other side of the street and "I am in front of the building" if he/she is on the same side of the street.

I have learned that "di fronte a" means "opposite". Can it also mean "in front of"? For instance, would I use it if I am standing on the same side of the street of a building? Word Reference dictionary says so, but I would like to confirm it with native speakers.

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    No, you'd say davanti a. There is an alarming number of question originated by wrong or questionable online learning tools. Then again, anything that prompts a desire to learn more is fine... – DaG Aug 30 '19 at 23:30
  • @DaG: Could you write an answer based on what you have said in your comment? – Charo Aug 31 '19 at 9:08
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The sense “close to the front of something or someone” is mostly expressed in Italian by davanti. “I am in front of the building”, meaning on the same side of the street, is simply Sono/sto davanti all'edificio.

Notice that davanti needs the preposition a (davanti al ristorante) or a pronoun in a “dative” form (se mi stai davanti non vedo nulla). In archaic or poetic language, you can find it without a; for instance, a famous poem by Giosue Carducci is titled Davanti San Guido.

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