15.3 Italian prepositions part 3

Besides that a distinction is to be made whether the stress is on the function of a building or the building itself. In case of public buildings (town hall, church, train station, etc.) the important thing is not the building itself, but the function. If a statement points to the function of a building, in other words if the concrete building is irrelevant, the preposition in is to be used. But if we are talking about a concrete building, then a is to be used. The stress is for instance on a concrete building if this building is described by an attribute.

the stress is on the function
Vado in chiesa.
  I go to church.
  Sono nella chiesa.
  I am in the church.
the stress is on a concrete place
  Vado alla chiesa che si trova nel centro della città.
  I go to the church in the center of the town.
  Sono nella chiesa che si trova nel centro della città.
  I am in the church in the center of the town.
the stress is on the function
  Devo andare nell' ospedale.
  I have to go to the hospital.
  Sono nell' ospedale.
  I am in the hospital.
the stress is on a concrete place
  Devo andare all' ospedale dov' è mia madre.
  I have to go the hospital where my mother is.
  Sono nell' ospedale dov' è mia madre.
  I am in the hospital where my mother is.
the stress is on the function
  Questo pomeriggio andiamo in biblioteca
  Tody we go to the library.
  Siamo nella biblioteca.
  We are at the library.
the stress is on a concrete place
  Questo pomeriggio andiamo alla biblioteca che si trova vicino alla nostra casa.
  Today we go to the library next to our house.
  Siamo nella biblioteca che si trova vicino alla nostra casa.
  We are in the library next to our house.

Summary: Concerning the residence at some place there is no difference. Whether we point to the function of a buildung or to the building in both cases in is used.

But concerning the movement to a place there is a difference. The preposition in is used if we point to the function and the preposition a if we point to a buildung.

To the rules mentioned above there are exceptions as we are going to see at the next page.






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