When do you use "in" vs "nel/nella"?

Why is it "Mangio 'in' cucina." but "Mangio 'nel' corridoio." or "Mangio "nella" sala da pranzo."? Whats the rule for using 'in" vs "nel/nella"?

June 8, 2019


"Mangio 'in' cucina." but "Mangio 'nel' corridoio." or "Mangio "nella" sala da pranzo."

About your specific examples that concern rooms you use both of them, so articulated or simple preposition in, whenever you are mentioning personal spaces, whereas if you are speaking of someone else's spaces usually the articulated one:

Mangio in / nella cucina. (my kitchen)
Mangio nella cucina di Paola. (Paola's kitchen)
Mangio nella cucina. (impicit friend's kitchen, restaurant kitchen ect.)

However it's more common to use the simple in in the first case and I personally use it more.
Further, you have to choose only the articulated one when there are other specific situations as well as the one above said, i.e. adding more information or adjectives and though they are personal spaces:

Sono in sala da pranzo.
Sono nella sala da pranzo al piano inferiore.
Sono nella mia sala da pranzo.

Read more here, there is also a list of categories of other nouns that take the simple in and a ( in particular note 2 ):


July 8, 2019

In Italian some expressions have become just Preposition + Noun. The expected Direct Object is not there.

With 'in' this is usually:

Places with a specific purposes (e.g., rooms, building, stores). But not a specific place:

Sono in cucina. I am in the kitchen. -- kitchen is a room with a specific purpose. but I not explicitly specified a specific kitchen.

Sono nella nostra cucina. I am in our kitchen. -- Our kitchen is a specific kitchen.

Sono in {bagno, biblioteca}.

Countries and environments (e.g., beach mountains).

"a" is similar.

June 8, 2019

See the links I posted in this recent discussion:

June 8, 2019

I thought that nel/nella/nello/nei/nelle/negli/nell' were all forms of in meaning in the.

in + il = nel

in + la = nella

in + lo = nello

in + l' = nell'

in + le = nelle

in + gli = negli

in + i = nei

When to use them, is stated in other comments, but I thought I might share the connections between them, for you. Hopefully this was helpful.

June 9, 2019

Chevy I came here to find out about the use in by itself but I can answer your questions. You are right. But have you not noticed in the preposition lesson that there are sentences that just use "in" instead of all the nell words. I think Bob is probably right which means we just have to learn those situations. The one that I've just come across was una mela in tasca/ an apple in pocket. No article for the pocket. So to carry on. Its not "in the pocket" as we say in English. Its just "in pocket". Its a bit like the way Americans say "in back" when in Australia or England we would say "out the back". You just have to learn it.

SO I would suggest and what I will do, is learn the rules for all the nell variations and learn the instances of "in" and not worry too much about a rule for those.

July 8, 2019
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