Ci and ne are called particelle (particles) and are widely used in Italian. You may have heard them or seen them written down but were not sure how to use them yourself. Here is a guide to help you understand them.
Ne can mean
- of it
- of them
- about it
- about them
Here are some examples:
Quante sorelle hai?
Ne ho due.
How many sisters do you have?
I have two (of them).
Quante pizzette vuoi?
Ne prendo 10.
How many mini pizzas do you want?
I’ll take 10 of them.
Hai visto quel film? Che ne pensi?
Have you seen that film? What do you think of it?
Andiamo al teatro questo weekend? Che ne dici?
Shall we go to the theatre this weekend? What do you say about it?
Che ne pensi di andare in vacanza insieme quest’estate?
What do you think about going on holiday together this summer?
Ne in the past tense
If you want to use nein the past tense, the verb needs to agree in gender and number with the direct object, for example:
Quanti libri (masculine plural) hai letto quest’anno?
Ne ho letti (masculine plural) 12
How many books have you read this year?
I have read 10 of them.
Quante banane (feminine plural) hai mangiato?
Ne he mangiate (feminine plural) tutte!
How many bananas did you eat?
I ate them all!
Where to put ne in a sentence
Ne usually goes before the conjugated verb:
Abbiamo due cani - we have two dogs
Ne abbiamo due - we have two of them
Hai del caffè? Si ne ho.
Have you got any coffee? Yes I have some
Ci is used as reflexive, direct or indirect pronoun meaning noi or ‘we/us’:
Ci svegliamo alle 7. - We wake up at 7.
Ci vediamo domani - See you tomorrow! (literally we see each other tomorrow)
Flavio ci ha visto al cinema ieri - Luca saw us at the cinema yesterday
Ci can mean ‘there’, as you may have seen in the expressions c’è(which in full would be ci è) and ci sono- there is and there are.
Nella borsa c’è una bottiglia d’acqua.
In the bag there is a bottle of water.
Sul tavolo ci sono due panini.
On the table there are two sandwiches.
Ci can be used to refer to a place, replacing prepositions like a,in,da(at / in):
Vai dal dentista domani?
Sì ma non ci voglio andare.
Are you going to the dentist tomorrow?
Yes but I don’t want to go.
Vieni alla festa stasera?
Certo che ci vengo!
Are you coming to the party this evening?
Of course I am coming!
Sei mai stata a roma?
Ci andrò l’anno prossimo per la prima volta!
Have you ever been to Rome?
I’m going next year for the first time!
Ci + avere
In spoken Italian cican be used with avere to express possession, for example:
Cerchi un nuovo posto di lavoro?
No ce l’ho già.
Are you looking for a new job?
No I already have one.
Ce l’hai una sigaretta?
Non, non ce l’ho.
Have you got a cigarette?
No I haven’t.
In the above examples ci becomes ce because of the pronoun that follows it (lo, la, li, le etc.). This is also the case when it is combined with other pronouns:
Quanti studenti ci sono in classe oggi?
Ce ne sono 20.
How many students are in class today?
There are 20 (of them).
Quante regole di grammatica ci sono in italiano?
Ce ne sono tante!
How many Italian grammar rules are there?
There are lots of them!