Ci and Ne are two little particles that can be quite frustrating, at times.
I have noticed that some of my students have a hard time with how to use ci and ne properly because – let’s admit it – they are a bit tricky, so I have decided to write this blog post to see if I can make things easier for people struggling with this topic as well.
Actually, since grammar posts end up being always quite long and full of information, I have decided to split the topic into two separate posts: this week I’ll focus on how to use ci in Italian, while my next grammar post will be about the particle ne.
As I always do with posts about the Italian language, I have created a downloadable pdf file for you to keep for future reference. You will find it in Your Italian Toolbox, the private page on my site where I upload all language learning materials, under the section Grammar. I hope you will find it interesting!
But let’s dive deeper into the topic and see how ci and ne work. Ci and ne are used to replace a noun or a phrase and can sometimes work as a pronoun. They usually go before the verb but they need to be attached to the end of the verb if the verb is in the infinitive, imperative, or gerund form. But let’s see the use of ci in detail.
How to use CI in Italian.
Ci has multiple uses and meanings.
1) It can be a direct object pronoun:
Marco ci ha visti mentre andavamo a scuola (Marco ha visto noi) – Marco has seen us while we were going to school
Puoi accompagnarci a scuola? (Puoi accompagnare noi) – Can you take us to school?
2) It can be an indirect object pronoun:
Ci presti la tua macchina? (Presti la macchina a noi) – Can we borrow your car?
Chiamaci domani mattina (Chiama noi domani mattina) – Please call us tomorrow morning
3) It can be a reflexive pronoun:
Ogni mattina ci laviamo i denti (we wash our teeth every morning)
Ci facciamo la doccia ogni sera prima di andare a dormire (we take a shower every night before bed)
4) It can be a reciprocal pronoun:
Quando ci vediamo? Ci vediamo domani mattina alle 10 (When do we meet? Tomorrow at 10)
Parliamoci domani mattina prima della riunione (Let’s chat tomorrow morning before the meeting)
5) It can refer to a place, with the meaning of “in that place, here, there”:
Sei mai stato a Parigi? Ci sono stato nel 2001 (Have you ever been to Paris? I have been there in 2001)
Quando vai al mare? Ci vado domani (When are you going to the beach? I am going there tomorrow)
6) Ci is needed with verbs that are followed by the prepositions a, in, su, con. Some of the most common verbs and expressions requiring ci are pensare a, contare su, riuscire a, fare caso a, credere a/in, essere abituato a, tenere a:
Pensi spesso a Marco? Sì, ci penso ogni giorno (Do you often think about Marco? Yes, I think about him every day)
Posso contare su di te? Certo, contaci pure (Can I count on you? Sure)
Riesci a tornare alle 8? Sì, penso di riuscirci (Can you be back 8? Yes, I think I can do it)
Mia sorella è sempre maleducata, non farci caso (My sister is always very rude, never mind)
Lo sai che Marco ha vinto alla lotteria? No, dai! Non ci credo! (Do you know that Marco has won the lottery? Really? I can’t believe it!)
Come fai a lavorare così tanto? Ci sono abituato! (How can you work so hard? I am used to it)
Il lavoro è molto importante per me, ci tengo moltissimo (Work is really important for me, I care a lot about it)
7) Ci is part of some pronominal verbs like vederci, sentirci, entrarci, volerci, metterci, esserci.
Vederci means to be able to see, it refers to the ability to see:
Senza occhiali non ci vedo (I can’t see without my glasses)
Ci vedi o hai bisogno degli occhiali? (Can you see or do you need glasses?)
Sentirci means to be able to hear, it refers to the ability to hear:
Puoi parlare più forte? Non ci sento! (Can you speak louder? I can’t hear!)
Sono stata a un concerto di musica rock e ora non ci sento nulla (I have been to a rock concert and I can’t hear anything now)
Entrarci means to “have something to do with”:
Non c’entra niente! (It doesn’t have anything to do with it)
C’entri qualcosa con quello che è successo a scuola? (Do you have something to do with what happened in school?)
Volerci refers to the time needed to do a certain thing, to how long it takes to do something:
Ci vuole un’ora per andare da Genova a Savona (It takes one hour to go from Genoa to Savona)
Ci vuole tempo per imparare una lingua straniera (It takes a while to learn a foreign language)
Metterci refers to the time someone took to do something, it depends on the subject:
Ci ho messo un’ora per tornare dal lavoro perché c’era molto traffico (It took me one hour to come home from work because there was a lot of traffic)
Di solito ci vuole molto per imparare una lingua straniera, ma io faccio in fretta perché ho talento per le lingue (Usually it takes a while to learn a foreign language but I do it quickly because I have a talent for languages).
Esserci means there is/there are:
C’è sempre molto traffico all’ora di punta (Traffic is always huge during rush hour)
Ci sono molti studenti davanti alla scuola (There are a lot of students outside school)
This is how to use ci in Italian. As I told you, next time I will focus on the use of the particle ne. As usual, if you have questions, please leave a message in the comments below.
As I always do with posts about the Italian language, I have created a downloadable pdf file for you to keep for future reference. You will find it in Your Italian Toolbox, the private page on my site where I upload all language learning materials, under the section Grammar. If can access the page by simply subscribing to my newsletter.
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