I have written a blog post about the use of the Italian particle ci a while ago, and now it’s time to focus on its friend: the particle ne.
As I said in that blog post about ci, the use of these two particles in Italian can be a bit frustrating, so I am writing these blog posts hoping to help students who struggle with this aspect of Italian grammar.
And, exactly like I have done in that blog post about ci, 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 it will be useful!
Before we dive into the use of ne in detail, let me just remind you that ne – just like ci – can be used to replace a noun or a phrase and can sometimes work as a pronoun. Also, it usually goes before the verb but needs to be attached to the end of the verb if the verb is in the infinitive, imperative, or gerund form.
How to use ne in Italian
Ne has multiple uses and meanings.
1) It can be an indirect object pronoun (meaning di lui, di lei, di loro, da lui, da lei, da loro):
Giuseppe ama molto i suoi figli e ne parla molto (Giuseppe parla di loro) – Giuseppe loves his kids a lot and always talks about them
Non ho letto il libro, ma ne ho sentito parlare bene (Ho sentito parlare bene del libro) – I haven’t read the book but I have heard good things about it
Hai sentito di Elisa e Luca? No, non ne ho sentito niente (Non ho sentito niente di Elisa e Luca) – Have you heard about Elisa and Luca? No, I haven’t heard anything
2) It can be a partitive pronoun, which refers to a part of a quantity:
Vuoi un po’ di torta? Ne voglio una fetta piccola, grazie (Una fetta piccola di torta) – Do you want some cake? I’d like a small slice, please
Quanti film hai visto quest’ inverno? Ne ho visti moltissimi! (Moltissimi film) – How many movies have you seen this winter? I have seen a lot of movies!
Vuole delle mele, signora? Sì, ne vorrei un chilo (Un chilo di mele) – Would you like some apples? Yes, I’d like to have a kilo, please.
Pay attention to the difference:
Vuoi le mele? Sì, le voglio (Do you want the apples? Yes, I want them) – this means that I want all the apples available, so I need to use the direct object pronoun
Vuoi le mele? Sì, ne voglio un po’ (Do you want the apples? Yes, I want some) – this means that I just want a part of a bigger quantity, so I need to use ne
3) It can replace a whole sentence introduced by di + infinitive:
Hai voglia di venire al mare con me domani? No, non ne ho voglia (Do you feel like coming to the beach with me tomorrow? No, I don’t feel like doing it)
Ti sei ricordato di prendere il latte? No, me ne sono dimenticato (Did you get the milk? No, I forgot about it)
Hai bisogno di farti una doccia? Sì, grazie! Ne ho proprio bisogno (Do you need to take a shower? Yes, thanks! I really need it)
4) Ne is part of some pronominal verbs like andarsene, averne abbastanza, non poterne più, fregarsene, starsene.
Andarsene means to go away, to leave a place:
La festa era molto noiosa, così me ne sono andata presto (The party was really boring so I left early)
Averne abbastanza means to be fed up with someone or something:
Ne ho abbastanza delle tue lamentele, me ne vado! (I am done with your complaining, I leave!)
Non poterne più has a very similar meaning:
Non ne posso più delle tue lamentele, me ne vado! (I am done with your complaining, I leave!)
Fregarsene means not to care about someone or something:
Me ne frego di quello che pensa mia mamma, io domani mi faccio un tatuaggio (I don’t care what my mother thinks, I am getting a tattoo tomorrow)
Starsene means to stay:
Hai voglia di uscire stasera? No, preferisco starmene un po’ da sola – Do you feel like going out tonight? No, I’d rather be on my own for a while)
This is how to use ne in Italian. 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.
If you are interested in working on Italian grammar and want to focus on some specific topics, I suggest you check Ti aiuto io, my online Italian language tutoring service.
If you purchase Ti aiuto io, I will work as your private tutor, giving you tasks and homework and spending time over Skype with you to clarify and work together on each topic. If you want to give it a try, you can request a 30-minute free chat, so that we can meet each other and see if you like the service.