Romanian prepositions

Prepositions are those fiddly little words like 'to, of, from', and frankly they are a nuisance in the romance languages.

I find them difficult in Italian, and no easier in Romanian.

As you learn the Romanian sentences on Surface languages, these basic explanations will help identify them and understand how their use in specific situations.

Using and rearranging the existing sentence structures, it is possible to speak (more or less) correctly before understanding much of Romanian grammar.

The preposition la

The preposition la can mean both 'at' and 'to'.'

Am lucrat la birou I worked at the office
Am plecat la serviciu I went to work
Îi văd mereu la cafenea I always see them at the café
M-am întâlnit cu prietenii la cafenea I met friends at the cafe
Am fost la pub I was at the pub
Astăzi am fost la cinematograf Yesterday, I went to the cinema

The preposition în

The preposition în 'in'.'

Where the preposition în is followed by un or o it becomes într.

Lucrez într-un restaurant I work in a restaurant
Am stat într-un hotel lângă plajă I stayed in a hotel by the beach
Ea lucrează într-un hotel She works in a hotel

It is used with countries (in a similar way to Italian).

Ea a fost în concediu în Germania She was on holiday in Germany
Am fost în Franța în urmă cu trei ani I went to France three years ago
Sunt în Anglia I am in England

It is used with cities (to describe where you or other people live).

Părinți mei locuiesc în Pari My parents live in Paris
În vară am petrecut două săptămâni în Londra I spent two weeks in London in the summer

There are other frequently used terms where în translates as 'in the'.

Îl văd des pe acel bărbat în parc I often see that man in the park
Pregătesc micul dejun în bucătărie I make breakfast in the kitchen
Lucrez în centrul orașului I work in the centre of the city

Specific phrases with în

These are some frequently used phrases where în is used differently to the English. Rather than wondering why or trying to figure out reasons it is easier just to learn them.

Am ieșit în oraș la ora 6 seara I went to the centre of the city at six
Ea a fost în concediu în Germania She was on holiday in Germany

The preposition de 'of,from'

The preposition de has varying uses, and it is easy to become overwhelmed by these when starting to learn Romanian.

One solution is too start by identifying and learning examples used in specific situations.

Specific phrases with de

The construcion De cât timp has a literal meaning of 'from what time' but in the sentences is translated more naturally as 'how long'

And the reply is 'I've been doing something from a year (ago)'.

De cât timp ... From what time ...
De cât timp locuiește în Germania? How long has he lived in Germany?
De cât timp înveți limba engleză? How long have you been learning English?
... de un an ... from a year
Învăț limba română de un an I've been learning Romanian for a year

There are some Romanian examples here. (This grammatical construcion is similar to the Italian Da quanto tempo ... ).