Sui or nei ?

Having examined "more details" for the word Sulla, one of the examples is "I am in the newspapers" - "Io sono sui giornali".

Why is this not "Io sono nei giornali". None of the other examples in "Sulla" (along with it's conjugations) uses it as "in the", only the one mentioned here, it is always used for "on the". I find this a little confusing, I know there are always exceptions in all languages so may be this is one of them for Italian. As things stand, I would use "nei" for the appropriate "in the" phrase for my Italian, not "sui". (viz. masculine, plural, not beginning with "s" or "z".)

Could someone help me with this please.

August 25, 2018


The proper preposition that should be used is in.
In everyday's language, though, the preposition su is more common.

Results in Google's search engine:
sul giornale is 3.8 times more common than nel giornale
sui giornali is 6.4 times more common than nei giornali.

Results in Google Ngram Viewer (written texts → slightly more formal):
sul giornale is 2.2 times more common than nel giornale
sui giornali is 2.9 times more common than nei giornali.

So both of them are grammatical, but su is heard more often.


August 26, 2018

Thanks for that, I thought it might be a "language" preference as opposed to purely grammatical, as someone else has commented it is just a matter of learning where these odd exceptions to the rule are.

August 26, 2018

For the sake of an easier memorization, one can stick with su, which works well in any circumstance.

August 26, 2018

It has a bit to do with the concept of "in"; if a product is in the store (nel negozio), or if you are in the room (nella stanza) then you're expressing the position of an object or a person.
For a newspaper, the text and photos are not "in" or "inside of" the actual newprint, they are printed on the page, so the news is "on the pages of the newspaper".

If you treat newspapers like the rest of the media-- TV, radio, or even Internet-- then you should have no trouble remembering the Italian preposition that is in common use:
I saw it on TV, I heard it on the radio, I read it on the internet, I read it on the newspaper.

August 26, 2018

Further note: You'll soon notice an odd thing happening with food on plates-- in Italian, food is always "in the plate" (nel piatto or nei piatti) rather than "on the plate".

August 26, 2018

Yes, I had noticed that and took it as just an Italian language thing. Having only just started this course, the "on the plate" - nel piatto, is covered early on, so I took it for granted that is how Italian deals with that word / subject. It is only now that I have covered further lessons that I am questioning this item. Your suggestion I handle this by thinking of "on the TV, on the radio" etc. is a good way of thinking of the logic, so many thanks for that.

August 26, 2018

It's just sort of idiomatic. Think of how in English we say we're on a bus or on a train. We're not technically on it, we're in it. But we don't say "I'm in a bus/train." It sounds odd to our ears and you'd sound lacking in fluency if you said it that way. So you just have to figure out as you go what some of the more idiomatic expressions are. Like "ci vuole," technically it means "there wants," which means nothing in English. But really it translates to "it takes," as in it takes a particular amount of time, etc.

August 26, 2018

I am beginning to understand what people say about true immersion in the language and that it is only really possible by actually living there (in Italy). So I think my (current) early attempts at trying to understand the formation of sentences without actually living in Italy will be fraught with these sort of frustrations. Rightly or wrongly, I have determined to learn the grammatical side of Italian first (reading and writing), then concentrate on "listening" and only then focusing my attention on speaking. Being somewhat "Vecchio" (in my late 60's) I feel the need to learn as much of the language first before launching my aging brain into actually "using" the language.

August 26, 2018
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