Idioms introduced by the preposition IN – Audio & Quiz

Italian idioms introduced by the preposition IN.

The Italian preposition IN is the fourth most used, after DI, A and DA.

Have a look at previous posts of this series:

All the Italian prepositions have a sort of personality. They are quite different, serve different purposes and are fundamental elements of our language.

We can use IN as a preposition of place, time, “mezzo“, “modo” and in many other ways. It is obviously related to the English IN, but not quite the same.

The focus of this exercise will be the use of “IN” for building Italian idioms and expressions typical of the spoken language. I’ll write ten random examples, out of many others, all pretty common.

Listen to the correct pronunciation and solve the quiz.

As usual, translations in English are not literal. Feel free to correct.

Siete pronti?


in arrivo / coming soon

  • Il treno da Milano è in arrivo al binario sette.

in barba (a)…/ in spite of…

  • In barba alla dieta, si è mangiato mezza torta.

in compenso / on the other hand

  • Ho perso l’autobus ma, in compenso, ho trovato venti euro a terra.

in gamba / capable OR in good health

  • Ti consiglio il mio dentista, è davvero in gamba.

in media / on average

  • In media, solo uno studente su quattro passa l’esame.

in sordina / quietly, unnoticed

  • Ha cominciato a lavorare in sordina, ma poi ha dimostrato il proprio valore.

in cattive acque / in a difficult situation

  • La nostra azienda si trova in cattive acque. Tra poco fallirà.

in pompa magna / in grand style

  • Hanno accolto il primo ministro in pompa magna.

in grado di / up to the task

  • Mi dispiace, non sono in grado di aiutarvi.

in stato interessante / pregnant

  • Signora, da quanto tempo si trova in stato interessante?







This is just a small sample of idiomatic expressions with the preposition IN.

Please take a free Skype class if you want to know more about spoken Italian and how people use idioms properly.


Federico Andreotti – La serenata – 1880 ca

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Milanese, graduated in Italian literature a long time ago, I began teaching Italian online in Japan back in 2003. I usually spend winter in Tokyo and go back to Italy when the cherry blossoms shed their petals. I do not use social media.

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4 years ago

“in gamba” also means clever, hip, cool, slick

Don`t copy text!