What is "a, al, ai, alla, allo"?
‘A, al, alla’ are the various forms of the Italian preposition ‘a’, which has various meanings including ‘to’, ‘in the style of’, ‘of’, and ‘at’. A comprehensive explanation is beyond the scope of this site – this is a broad overview. Examples are:
a piacere – to taste (ie a steak is cooked ‘a piacere’)
The masculine plural of ‘a’ is ‘ai’ – which is why you get ‘ai ferri’ which means ‘grilled’, or more literally ‘on the irons’ (grill)
alla griglia is another term for ‘grilled’ – more literally ‘on the grill’. ‘Griglia’ is a feminine noun which is why you use the feminine version of the preposition: ‘alla’
all’italiana means ‘in the Italian style. ‘Alla’ is contracted to ‘all’-’ because the word that follows it (italiana) starts with a vowel (i)
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