I'm very new to learning Italian and this has confused me about the site. I know that "in" is translated nel or nello (if there are other forms, I'm as yet unaware). In many question titles that are apparently asked in Italian, I still see the word "in" being used where I would have expected an Italian form of the word.

Has "in" been assimilated into Italian, has it always been a valid word to mean the same as it does in English, or is it just mixing of English and Italian in a sentence?

  • 2
    «"in" is translated nel or nello»: consider unfriending whomever made you think so.
    – DaG
    Sep 8, 2016 at 23:17
  • And, as always, consulting a (Italian-English, English-Italian or Italian monolingual) vocabulary would have answered this doubt in ten seconds.
    – DaG
    Sep 8, 2016 at 23:19
  • 1
    For instance, “the fridge is in the kitchen” would not be translated as il frigo è nella cucina, but il frigo è in cucina (no article in Italian in this case).
    – egreg
    Sep 9, 2016 at 6:26
  • @DaG duolingo app on my phone. I really don't like that they don't give you any of the hows and whys as to why things are the way they are.
    – lightwing
    Sep 9, 2016 at 18:40

1 Answer 1


Nel means in + il, nello means in + lo, we call them preposizioni articolate, because il and lo are articles.

There are also nella = in + la, nei = in + i, negli = in + gli and nelle = in + le.

In is used also alone (as preposizione semplice), for example:

In Italia si mangia bene.

Oggi sono al mare ma domani devo andare in ufficio.

The preposizioni semplici are di, a, da, in, con, su, per, tra, fra.

The prepositions di, a, da, in and su have all the forme articolate.

For example: del = di + il, allo = a + lo, dai = da + i, etc.

For these prepositions you have to use the forma articolata if they are followed by an article:

Correct: Vado dalla nonna.

Wrong: Vado da la nonna.

Con is articolata with il = col and with i = coi, the other forms are less used or archaic.

In this case, however, also con il and con i are correct and probably more common:

Correct: Il gatto ha litigato col cane.

Correct: Il gatto ha litigato con il cane.

For the other prepositions the forme articolate don't exsist or are archaic.

  • 6
    Cool fact: in is a Latin word that means in and it didn't change in more than two millennia in both Italian and English. Sep 8, 2016 at 22:20

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