Does dal always mean 'to the' in this sort of going/coming situation or can it also mean from the?
Normally "da" is from and "a" is to, but when the object is a person, it means the place that person lives or works. "He went to the doctor's [office]." Might be the best translation.
"A Reference Grammar of Modern Italian" (Maiden and Robusttelli, 2000, pp 176-179)
in these andare expressions, you just have to learn when to use 'dal' or 'al' for each individual expression as I remember my Italian teacher saying to our class one night...
This literally says: "she is gone to the doctor." So in these cases (essere) the participles (gone/andata) can be thought of as adjectives that are describing what she is. She is gone. The participle/adjective has to agree with the gender of the noun like all adjectives do.
OK - da here means TO the doctor/s as per the idiom I have come across. So what would you say for "she went from the doctor" which you could do in certain contexts. Apologies for the question - brain weary.
dal dottore = to the doctor's (or any other profession). You could use venire or tornare (come/come back) but actually this would still be ambiguous since "venire" means "come where the speaker is" (it could be said by the doctor's secretary) and "tornare" can mean "go again" (é tornata = è andata ancora).
The only way to disambiguate this in Italian is to use not the person's profession but the name of the shop /activity. With "dottore" I'd use "ambulatorio" or "studio del dottore"...
È andata dal dottore = She went to the doctor's.
È andata dallo studio del dottore alla panetteria = She went from the doctor's to the bakery.
È tornata dal panettiere = She went again to the baker's.
È tornata dalla panetteria = She came back from the bakery.
I put she went from the doctor and it was marked correct , I had assume, "to the doctor", would be al dottore. It seems strange that there is this ambiguity in Italian ? where dal can mean "from the" and "to the" ......wonder if they know whether they are coming or going ...albeit i have never had a problem on their trains!
Why "it went to the doctor" is not accepted?
Who says that we're talking about a woman?
Maybe we're talking abot a female cat like:
"La gatta è andata dal dottore"
"She is gone to the doctor" not accepted, only the contraction suggested.