In WRITTEN Italian, it is better to use
And so on, but in spoken Italian we don't say always the preposition.
Then... "sotto la scrivania" would be acceptable in spoken language, but is anyway a mistake.
Thanks, Marziotta, but I am still confused. Why "sotta alla"? Is this an idiom? I thought it might mean something like "Why are you still at your desk buried under work"? Grazie!
I think she meant that the preposition "sotto" agrees with "a" in written Italian (in contrast to prepositions which agree with "da", "nel" etc.) "Sotta alla" derives from the definite article (la) which is attached to the original "a", thus creating the "alla". I think you should read it literally, I don't think it's an idiom.
I am having the same problem as Elena with the "sotta alla". maybe someone can help :)
Well OK, but in another answer, DL insisted in "sotto il tavolo". (Ie not "al tavolo") Why are the two treated differently?
I had an English-to-Italian translation the last run that actually de-hearted me for putting in 'alla scrivania' (and insisting it should have read 'la scrivania' instead) -- now that I've read your explanation it's a clear report case. Thank you, marziotta!
If I could understand the Italian, I think the answer is here! Seems that sopra can take 'a' or 'di' http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1058378
I translated scrivania as "writing table" without looking it up and was marked wrong. A dictionary seems to confirm that my translation is valid and then I looked at DL's own mouse-over suggestions and find that it's listed as valid there as well!
I believe I start to get it. Previously I only had 'sotto voce' as a reference. But I took the time to look up the German translation and I gather that 'sotto' does not mean 'under' but rather something like 'down', 'low', I.e. it is an adverbial expression and not a preposition, so we are rightfully punished by duolingo for not using the 'alla' for the spatial reference.
Yeap! They give you correct options but many times they are not accepted as such. Go figure!
This construction is confusing. Sotto is 'under', alla is a la which means 'at the'... I'd say "Perché sei sotto della scrivania" Somehow it makes more sense to me. :S I have a kid hiding under the desk in mind and a mom who ask why he/she hides there, when I read this.
What the forum says is that "sopra di" is used when the following word is a personal pronoun "abita sopra di me-he lives above me" and "sopra a " in the remaining cases "sopra alla mensola c'è un quadro antigo-above the shelf there is an old master"
SOTTO O SOTTO A?
Sono corrette entrambe le forme:
Il gatto si era nascosto sotto il tavolo.
La valigia è sotto al letto.
Prima di un pronome ➔personale tonico, la sequenza preferibile è sotto di:
Con la terra sotto di me / l’aereo sembra fermo (Nek, Con la terra sotto di me).