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  17.4 adverb / pronouns

Sometimes it is crucial to be able to distinguish between the adverb and the preposition with the same semantic value because sometimes there is no difference between the preposition and the adverb in English, but in Italian there is a special form for the adverb and sometimes it is the other way round, there is no difference between between the adverb and the preposition in Italian, but in English the same word is used for the preposition and the adverb.

own form in both languages
I am down. I go down. // The book is under the table.  
  Sono giù. Vado giù. // Il libro è sotto la tavola.
own form only in English
  After dinner I am going to tell you that. / I do it later.
  Dopo pranzo te lo dico. // Lo faccio dopo.

In general it is easy to distinguish an adverb from a preposition. An adverb or an adverbial adjunct only specify something, add some information, but is not essential for the unterstanding of the sentence.

The car turned slowly round the corner.
The car turned round the courner.

Slowly is an adverb and we can omit it without changing the meaning of the sentence. The case of adverbial pronouns is not as obvious, but still works.

Sono giù. / I am downstairs.
Sono. / I am.

In this case the adverb is a pronominal adverb, stands for something (down at the basement, under the car ....). If we omit an adverbial pronoun the remaining sentence very often doesn't make a lot of sense, but is still possible. Following the French philosopher Descartes (I think therefore I am) even the sentence I am / Sono makes sense. So even with a pronominal adverb the rule works.

If we omit a preposition not even Descartes will help us, the remaining sentence is nonsense.

The book is under the table.
The book is the table.

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