How to Use the Preposition "Con" in Italian

Learn the various ways to use “con”

Mother with her daughter
Mother with her daughter. Portra Images

The Italian preposition con expresses the concept of participation or union. In English, it can typically be translated as: "with,” “together,” or “by" depending on the context.

Here are eight ways to use it.

 

8 Ways to Use the Preposition “Con”

The preposition con can be used in the following ways (this can also be described as taking complements).

 

1) Companionship, alliance (compagnia, unione)

  • Vado con lui. - I’m going with him.

  • Arrosto con patate - Roast with potatoes

  • Vorrei un’​insalata mista con salsa - I’d like a mixed salad with dressing

TIP: The preposition is frequently reinforced with the term insieme: farò il viaggio insieme con un amico (or insieme ad un amico).

 

2) Connection, relationship (relazione)

  • Ho un appuntamento con il medico. - I have an appointment with the doctor.

  • Sposarsi con una straniera - To marry a foreigner

 

3) Means, method (mezzo)

  • Battere con un martello - To pound with a hammer

  • Arrivare con l'aereo - To arrive by airplane

 

4) Way, matter, mode (modo)

  • Sono spiacente di rispondere alla tua email con tanto ritardo. - I’m sorry to respond to your email so late.

  • Lavorare con impegno - To work hard / with commitment

Here are some other popular ones:

  • Con calma - Patiently

  • Con difficoltà - With difficulty

  • Con ogni mezzo - By any means

  • Con piacere - With pleasure

 

5) Attribute (qualità)

  • Una ragazza con i capelli biondi - A girl with blonde hair

  • Camera con bagno - Room with ensuite bathroom

 

6) Cause, reason (causa)

  • Con l'inflazione che c'è, il denaro vale sempre meno. - With inflation, money is worth less than ever.

  • Con questo caldo è difficile lavorare. - It’s difficult to work with this heat.

 

7) Limitation, restriction (limitazione)

  • Come va con lo studio? - How is the study going?

     

    8) Time (tempo)

    • Le rondini se ne vanno coi primi freddi. - The swallows leave with the first cold.

    In colloquial usage, sometimes the preposition “con” shows opposition, which you often see with the connector words, like "malgrado - in spite of” or “nonostante - despite.”

    • Con tutta la buona volontà, non posso proprio acconsentire. - Despite all of the good intentions, I can’t agree.

    Sometimes “con” can be omitted, especially in poetic and literary expressions indicating parts of the body or clothes.

    • Arrivò alla stazione, la borsa a tracolla e il cappello in mano. - She arrived at the station, handbag on her shoulder and jacket in hand.

    TIP: You can create a construction that’s equivalent to a gerund with the preposition “con” and a verb in the infinitive, like “Con tutto il da fare che hai, non so come riesci a ritagliarti anche del tempo per te! - With all the things you have to do, I can’t realise how you manage to carve out some time for you!"

     

    Prepositional Articles With Con

    When followed by a definite article, “con” is combined with the article to give the following combined forms known as prepositional articles, or preposizioni articolate in Italian.

    Le Preposizioni Articolate

    PREPOSIZONE

    ARTICOLO

    PREPOSIZIONI

     

    DETERMINATIVO

    ARTICOLATE

    con

    il

    col

    con

    lo

    collo

    con

    l'

    coll'

    con

    i

    coi

    con

    gli

    cogli

    con

    la

    colla

    con

    le

    colle

     

    NOTE: Using “con” with the preposition isn’t as widely used. The one form you’re most likely to hear it in is “col.”