Other useful Italian idioms introduced by the preposition A – Audio & Quiz.

Other useful Italian idioms introduced by the preposition A.

The Italian preposition A is the second most used in Italian, just after DI.

I already wrote another blog with idioms introduced by DI. Take a look.

All the Italian prepositions introduce very common expressions used in the daily spoken language. I’ve selected a few, introduced by A, and wrote some examples. You will notice that most explain “how” or “the way” something is done.

Translations in English are obviously not literal. If you have a better one or want to correct my English, please go ahead.

At the bottom of this page you can find a quiz with an audio sample and the correct pronunciation of the idioms.

Siete pronti?

a casaccio – randomly

  • Ho messo i vestiti a casaccio e sono uscito di fretta.

a colpo sicuro – without hesitation

  • Il testimone ha riconosciuto il ladro a colpo sicuro.

a malapena – barely

  • Quando avevi la gamba ingessata, camminavi a malapena.

a malincuore – reluctantly

  • Penso che venderemo la casa al mare, ma a malincuore.

a tu per tu – face to face

  • Quando mi sono trovato a tu per tu con quel cane feroce, sono morto dalla paura.

(avere i nervi) a fior di pelle – nervous, tense

  • Durante l’esame, avevo tutti i nervi a fior di pelle.

a forza di… – by constantly doing something

  • A forza di camminare, mi fanno male le gambe.

alla buona – in a simple way

  • Ho preparato un pranzo alla buona. Spero che vi piaccia.

a occhio e croce – approximately

  • A occhio e croce, la nostra casa dista da qui una decina di chilometri.

a più non posso – as much as (one) can

  • Durante le vacanze in Sardegna, abbiamo ballato a più non posso.



Hopefully, the idioms you have just read will help you to speak more naturally. I always suggest to use them at the right moment, just like a special spice in a dish. Not too much, only when it’s appropriate to the context.

There are many more. Please solve the quiz and book an Italian class via Skype if you want to learn and speak Italian naturally.




Jacopo Carucci detto Pontormo – Ragazzo col berretto rosso – 1529

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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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Jerome O'Brien
3 years ago

Hi Riccardo, I’m not sure about “a fior di pelle” on its own, meaning “nervous, tense”. I believe that it has to be preceded by “avere i nervi” to acquire this meaning. Otherwise it just signifies something superficial, on the skin, or on the surface. Che be pensi?

Don`t copy text!