Easy Learning Italian

ne and ci - Easy Learning Grammar Italian

  • ne and ci are two extremely useful pronouns which have no single equivalent
    in English. There are some phrases where you have to use them in Italian.

1  ne

  • ne is a pronoun with several meanings.
  • It can refer to amounts and quantities.
  • It means some, and can be used without a noun, just like English.
Ne vuoi?Would you like some?
Vuoi del pane? – Ne ho grazie.Would you like some bread? –
I’ve got some, thanks.
  • In English, when talking about amounts and quantities, you can say How much do you want of it?, or How much do you want? and How many do you want of them?, or How many do you want? Ne translates of it and of them but it is not optional. So you need to remember to use it in sentences of the kind shown below.
Ne ho preso la metà.I’ve taken half (of it).
Ne vuoi la metà?Do you want half (of it/of them)?
Quanti ne vuole?How many (of them) do you want?
Ne voglio pochi.I don’t want many (of them).
  • Ne also means about it/them, of it/them, with it/them, and so on, when used with Italian adjectives or verbs which are followed by di, for example contento di (meaning happy about), stufo di (meaning fed up with), aver paura di (meaning to be afraid of), scrivere di (meaning to write about).
Ne è molto contenta.She’s very happy about it.
Ne sono conscio.I’m aware of it.
Ne erano stufi.They were fed up with it.
Ne sei sicura?Are you sure (of it)?
Ne hai paura?Are you afraid of it?
Ne ha scritto sul giornale.She’s written about it in the paper.
Non se ne accorge.He doesn’t realize it.
  • With adjectives and verbs followed by di, ne can be used to refer to nouns that have already been mentioned.
Parliamo del futuro. – Let’s talk about the future.
Sì, parliamoneYes, let’s talk about it.
Hai bisogno della chiave? – Do you need the key?
No, non ne ho più bisogno.No, I don’t need it any more.
  • For more information on di, see Prepositions page 174.
  • Ne usually comes before the verb, except when the verb is an order or the infinitive (the –re form of the verb).
  • When it comes after the verb the final –e of the infinitive is dropped.
Volevo parlarne.I wanted to talk about it.
  • It follows any other pronoun and is written as one word with it and the verb form.
Dammene uno per favore.Give me one of them please.
Dagliene due rossi.Give him two red ones.
  • Note that when joined to ne, mi becomes me, ti becomes te, ci becomes ce,
    vi become ve and gli and le become glie.
Key points
  • ne can be used to mean some.
  • ne can also be used to mean of it or of them when talking about amounts and quantities. Unlike English, it is not optional.
  • ne is used to mean about it or about them and so forth with verbs and adjectives followed by di.
  • ne usually comes before the verb.

2  ci

  • Ci is used with certain verbs to mean it or about it.
Ripensandoci mi sono pentito.When I thought it over I was sorry.
Non ci credo per niente. I don’t believe it at all.
Ci penserò.I’ll think about it.
Non ci capisco niente.I can’t understand it at all.
Non so che farci.I don’t know what to do about it.
  • Ci is often used with Italian verbs which are followed by a, for example:
  • credere a qualcosa to believe something, to believe in something
Non ci credo.I don’t believe it.
  • pensare a qualcosa to think about something
Non voglio nemmeno pensarci.I don’t even want to think about it.
  • far caso a qualcosa to notice something
Non ci ho fatto caso.I didn’t notice.
  • Note that the equivalent English verb may not be followed by any preposition at all.
  • With verbs followed by a, ci can be used to refer to nouns that have already
    been mentioned.
I fantasmi, non ci credi?Ghosts – don’t you believe in them?
Non pensi mai al futuro? – Don’t you ever think about the
Ci penserò quando sarò più vecchio.future? – I’ll think about it when I’m older.
  • ci is used with the verb entrare in some common idiomatic phrases.
Cosa c’entra?What’s that got to do with it?
Io non c’entro.It’s nothing to do with me.
  • Like ne, ci usually comes before the verb, except when the verb is an order,
    the infinitive (the –re form of the verb) or the –ing form.
Key points
  • ci is used to mean it or about it.
  • ci is used with verbs which can be followed by the preposition a.
  • ci usually comes before the verb.

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