Italian Preposition Su

La Preposizione Su in Italiano

Bottle of Chianti Classico wine on top of wall with vineyards of Sangiovese grapes in background
Bottle of Chianti Classico wine on top of wall. David Epperson / Getty Images

Like all of the other prepositions in Italian, like "per" or "da", "su" can have many shades of meaning, however it generally expresses the concept of being above (or on top of) of something, indicates how close something is or gives an estimate.

In English, it can be translated as:

  • On

  • Upon

  • Onto

  • On top

  • Over

  • About

  • Above

Here are the various ways in which “su” can be used in Italian.

USAGE #1: LOCATION, PLACE (STATO IN LUOGO)

  • Il libro è sul tavolo. - The book is on the table.

  • Un neo sulla guancia - A mark on the cheek

  • Siediti su questa poltrona. - Sit on this armchair.

  • Una casa sul mare - A house on the (near/by the) sea

  • Benvenuto sul mio blog! - Welcome to my blog!

In terms of location, “su” can also refer to a sphere of influence or authority:

  • Napoleon esercitava il suo dominio su molti popoli. - Napoleon exercised his rule over many communities.

USAGE #2: MOVEMENT TO A PLACE (MOTO A LUOGO)

  • Andiamo sul terrazzo. - Let’s go on the terrace.

  • Rimetti la penna sulla mia scrivania. - Put the pen back on my desk.

  • Le finestre guardano sul giardino. - The windows look out toward the garden.

  • La pioggia batte sui vetri. - The rain beats against the windows.

USAGE #3: TOPIC, THEME (ARGOMENTO)

  • Hanno discusso sulla situazione economica. - They discussed the economic situation.

  • Leggo un libro sulla storia Italiana. - I’m reading a book on Italian history.

  • Una mostra sul Rinascimento fiorentino - A Florentine Renaissance show

  • È un problema su cui non ho il minimo controllo. - It’s a problem over which I don’t have the slightest control.

USAGE #4: FIXED TIME (TEMPO DETERMINATO)

  • Vediamoci sul tardi. - We’ll see each other later.

  • Sul far del mattino, della sera - Around morning, around evening

USAGE #6: CONTINUOUS TIME (TEMPO CONTINUATO)

  • Ho lavorato sulle cinque ore. - I worked for around five hours.

  • Rimarrò fuori casa sui quindici giorni. - I’ll be out of the house for about fifteen days.

USAGE #7: AGE (ETÀ)

  • Un uomo sui quarant'anni - A man in his forties

  • Una signora sulla cinquantina - A woman in her fifties

USAGE #8: ESTIMATE, PRICE (STIMA, PREZZO)

  • Costa sulle diecimila lire. - It costs around 10,000 lira.

USAGE #9: QUANTITY, MEASURE (QUANTITÀ, MISURA)

  • Peso sui settanta chili. - I weigh around seventy kilograms.

USAGE #9: WAY, MATTER, MODE (MODO)

  • Lavorare su ordinazione - Custom work

  • Un abito su misura - Tailor-made

USAGE #10: DISTRIBUTIVE (DISTRIBUTIVO)

  • 10 donne su mille - Ten women out of a thousand

  • Lavoro cinque giorni su sette. - I work five out of seven days.

Verbs that Take “Su”

  • Saltare su - To get on (some type of transportation)

  • Informare su - To inform about

  • Riflettere su - To reflect on

  • Concentrare(si) su - To concentrate on

  • Fare ricerca su qualcosa - To do research on something

Popular Expressions

  • Sul serio? - Seriously?

  • Su questo non ci piove. - There’s no doubt about it.

  • Essere sulla stessa lunghezza d’onda - To be on the same wavelength

Prepositional Articles With "Su"

When followed by a definite article, "su" is combined with the article to give the following combined forms known as articulated prepositions (preposizioni articolate):

Le Preposizioni Articolate Con "Su"

PREPOSIZONEARTICOLO DETERMINATIVOPREPOSIZIONI ARTICOLATE
suilsul
sulosullo
sul'sull'*
suisui
suglisugli
sulasulla
sulesulle

 

*This form is only used when the word following begins with a vowel, like “frasi sull’amore - phrases about love”.

Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Filippo, Michael San. "Italian Preposition Su." ThoughtCo, May. 26, 2016, thoughtco.com/italian-preposition-su-2011462. Filippo, Michael San. (2016, May 26). Italian Preposition Su. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/italian-preposition-su-2011462 Filippo, Michael San. "Italian Preposition Su." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/italian-preposition-su-2011462 (accessed December 14, 2017).