Have you learned Italian for a while? Then, I am sure you have been faced with the usage and misusage of CI and NE (aka particelle pronominali ci e ne, in Italian).
And you have been wondering how to use ci and how to use ne. What does ne stand for? And what about ci?
Maybe you have also decided to neglect their use.
On my side, I love them.
And you should love them too.
Why? Using ci and ne correctly will make your Italian sounds ten times more natural, the moment you use them. Guarantee.
💡 Smart tip
To master the Italian pronouns ci and ne, you’d better learn the recurring combinations of verbs and pronouns in which they appear. For instance: ne often appears with parlare, and ci often appears in combination with pensare and credere. This will save you a lot of time and headaches 🙂
HOW TO USE THE PRONOUN “NE”
WHEN “NE” MEANS ABOUT IT/THEM
As previously mentioned, the best way to learn the correct usage of ci and ne is the context, or in chunks of sentences. The best way to use correctly ne is to memorize the verbs that use ne as a pronoun.
The most common verbs are using the pronoun ne are
- parlare di – to speak about
- essere sicuro di – to be sure about
- avere bisogno di – to need
- avere nostalgia di – to feel nostalgic
What do all these verbs have in common? They are followed by the preposition “di”.
In other words, we can say that…
The “particella NE” replaces the combination of di + something (complemento di specificazione, in Italian) when you don’t want to repeat something that has already been mentioned.
- Che pensi di Maria?
- Che ne pensi? – What do you think about her?
- Noi parliamo di politica.
- Ne parliamo. – We talk about it
- Hai bisogno di una macchina per andare a lavoro?
- No, non ne ho bisogno – No, I am not in need of it
- Sei sicuro di quello che hai detto?
- Sì, ne sono sicuro – Yes, I am sure about it
In a nutshell, the Italian pronoun NE means (and replace) of it/of them or about it/them.
WHEN “NE” MEANS SOME
There is a second usage of the pronoun “NE”, and it occurs when ne indicates quantities and amounts and it means some of something previously mentioned.
- Vuoi del formaggio? – Do you want some cheese?
- Si ne voglio – I want some of it
- Vuoi un pezzo di torta?
- No, ne voglio due! – I want two of them
In short, in this case “ne” indicates some of something else (some of it or some of them)
How ce ne sono is different from ci sono?
- ci sono means there are
- ce ne sono means there are some of them
You are using ce ne sono in Italian, to refer to something that has already been mentioned.
“NE” usually comes before the verb (ne parlo = I speak about it), except when the verb is an imperative (order) or an infinite.
When ne it comes with an infinitive, the final -e of the verb is dropped.
- voglio parlarne – I want to talk about it
- Parlane! – Talk about it! (imperative)
Note also that, when joined to ne, mi becomes me, ti becomes te, ci becomes ce, vi becomes ve and gli and le becomes glie.
- me ne vado! – I leave!
HOW TO USE THE PRONOUN “CI”
WHEN “CI” MEANS ABOUT IT
The use of the “particella ci” is similar to the use of ne, but CI is required with the verbs followed by prepositions a, in, su, con (while ne would replace the prepositions di or da)
The most common verbs using the particella CI are:
- pensare a – to think about
- credere in/a – to believe in
- contare su – to count on
- andare a/in – to go to
- riuscire a – to manage
- fare caso a – to notice
We use the pronoun ci to replace something that has already been mentioned in the conversation.
- Pensi a Maria? Ci penso – I think about her
- Credi in Dio? Ci credo – Yes, I believe in him
- Conti su di me? Sì, ci conto – Yes, I count on you
- Vai a Milano ogni venerdì? Sì, ci vado – Yes, I go there
WHEN “CI” MEANS THERE
Ci is also used with the meaning of “there”.
- Sei stato a Londra? Sì, ci sono stato
As you can see from the example, ci is replacing Londra in the sentence.
Italian use ci to replace the name of place that has already been mentioned.
- Vieni al cinema con me? Sì, ci vengo
E adesso? Use it or lose it! Leave a comment and try use in or two sentences the pronouns ci and ne.