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I know that:

  • Andresti al supermercato per comprare del burro? = Would you go to the supermarket (in order) to buy (some) butter?
  • Andresti al supermercato e compreresti del burro? = Would you go to the supermarket and buy (some) butter?

But what about the following sentence?

Andresti al supermercato a comprare del burro?

Does "a" translate better to English as "and" or "to"?

  • 2
    a comperare means to buy. And is e, conjunction. – user519 Sep 26 '19 at 16:32
  • Thanks. The second statement is obvious, I have edited my question to make it clear. – Alan Evangelista Sep 26 '19 at 16:38
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    “Andresti al supermercato e comprare del burro?” is not Italian: that infinitive (comprare) must have a verb “governing” it (voglio comprare, vado a comprare, spero di comprare...). – DaG Sep 26 '19 at 17:06
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    Almost: the first one is “Andresti al supermercato e compreresti del burro?”, and is slightly less idiomatic than the second one and the one in the question's title (“Andresti al supermercato a comprare del burro?”). – DaG Sep 26 '19 at 18:07
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    @DaG: I think that collecting what said by Gio and by you in your comments may be an answer to the question. Could you please write it? – Charo Sep 26 '19 at 19:48
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The word "a" in the last sentence of your question is a preposition that means "to" as in your first example and not "and" as in your second example.

Both "a" + infinitive and "per" + infinitive may be used to construct what are called "proposizioni finali implicite". As explained in the linked article by Treccani Encyclopedia, "proposizioni finali" are subordinate propositions that

esprimono il fine, lo scopo, l’obiettivo di quanto viene detto nella proposizione principale

that is, that express the purpose, the objective of what is said in the main proposition. They are called "implicite" when the verb in the subordinate clause is an infinitive.

In words by Serianni in his book Italiano (XIV 405):

A e per. Si adoperano selettivamente a seconda del verbo reggente: «andava lui stesso a far la spesa ogni mattina» (Bassani; non si potrebbe dire *per fare la spesa), «si lancia a testa bassa per scappare dalla porta» (Codignola; e non *a scappare: entrambi gli esempi in GREGO BOLLI 1982: 142 e 141). Diverse volte la reggenza ammette entrambe le soluzioni («vengo a mangiare» / «vengo per mangiare»; «era lì a piangere l'uomo che conosceva da sempre» «Corriere della Sera», 21.2.1987, 1 / «era lì per piangere...») e allora l'uso di per sembra accentuare la componente finalistica dell'azione (GREGO BOLLI 1982: 143).

That is, depending on the verb in the main clause, one must use either "a" or "per", but there are verbs that admit both these two prepositions. This is the case of "andare al supermercato" that appears in your question (and I would say it depends also on how the verb in the main clause is used because "andare al supermercato" is not the same as "andare" used in an absolute way). When that happens, the usage of "per" seems to accentuate the finalistic component of the action.

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