"Opposite us is a tall building."
Translation:Di fronte a noi c'è un edificio alto.
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There are two verbs that can be used to describe the position of objects or people: essere and esserci. The rule says, if the position comes first in a sentence you need esserci and if the person/object comes first you need essere. With "di fronte a noi" at the beginning of the sentence you therefore have to use esserci and in the 3rd person singular the right form is c'è.
I take Izay77's post to be asking us to reflect on the difference between "Opposite us is a tall building" and "A tall building is opposite us". The former declares that something exists and so is equivalent to a "there is" sentence, while the second simply records a fact about location. It's a subtle difference which in Italian is expressed by that between esserci and essere respectively.
Good question, to which I don't have the complete answer. Usually adjectives follow the nouns they modify. But some adjectives--e.g., "grande, piccolo, lungo"--usually precede their nouns. I, like you, thought "alto" was one of those. We seem to have been wrong. But I wonder if there's a better way to get this right than to simply memorize which adjectives work this way.
Such meaning could be “a tall building is before us“ ?
Isn't the sentence ungrammatical without a subject like “there“ or “it“ ? “opposite us“ can be the subject, but “in front of us“ cannot?, or doesn't it sound natural, the same way that “davanti a noi“ doesn't at the beginning of the sentence?
I want to understand it better, thanks.
Yes, the emphasis changes from what is in front of us to a tall building that happens to be there. The subject should always be the building in both languages, it's just that in Italian it sounds unnatural omitting "ci" when putting the location first; I'm not sure about English, because omitting "there" isn't rare at all, e.g. "In front of you are three light switches"
The translation doesn't seem correcto to me... I know Spanish as native language and sometimes Italian is more like Spanish... Opposite to me means contrary, inverse or even "facing the other way"... Di fronte in Spanish menas de frente literally "in front" or "right in front of us"... I think "opposto" or "inverso" would be a more accurate translation... My opinion..
"c'è" is a contraction of "ci è" = "there is". And "ci sono" = "there are".
"è" = "is" and, as the first word in a sentence, in Italian often implies the subject "it" or "he" or "she", depending on context. "È un gatto." = "It is a cat." "È una professoressa." - "She is a professor."
The English "In front of" is ambiguous. If someone is in front of me in a queue (AE line), facing the same way as I am, s/he is davanti a me. If someone is in front of me in the sense of directly opposite me and facing me, she is di fronte a me.
opposto, on the other hand, is opposite in the sense of contrary, and is used only as an adjective, not a preposition. (la direzione opposta = the opposite direction, all'opposto = on the contrary)
To me, this reads as 'In front of us (there) is a tall building'. This could mean that you are looking at a tall building across a road, plaza or from somewhere, or even standing in front of a tall building. You may be lost and seeking directions, or waiting for someone, or you may be with a tour guide who is describing the area. Without more sentence context I understand it may confuse some learners, but I understand what is meant. (Native Australian English speaker).