C’è and ce n’è: Explained
Even if you have studied Italian for a while and have a good understanding of grammar, you might still struggle with expressions like c’è and ce n’è. What is the difference between them? And how do you know when to use one or the other?
First of all, it is helpful to see that both are contractions, even if they are never used in the full form in speaking.
ci è = c’è
ce ne è = ce n’è
C’è and ce n’è: Rules
C’è can be translated as “there is”. Ce n’è can also be translated as “there is”, but the extra particle ne (that makes ci become ce) refers to something previously mentioned. Have a look at the examples below:
C’è del vino? (Is there some wine?)
Sì, ce n’è. (Yes there is some (of it))
Basically, ne replaces “of it, of this, of those” etc.
As you know, the plural of c’è is ci sono (there are). Equally, the plural of ce n’è will be ce ne sono (there are (of them/those)).
Ci sono delle mele? (Are there some apples?)
Sì, ce ne sono. (Yes, there are some of them.)
Ce n’è and ce ne sono: How to use
To summarize, c’è/ci sono and ce n’è/ce ne sono can both be translated as “there is/there are”. However ce n’è / ce ne sono are used to refer to the presence of a specific something previously mentioned (or implied). Let’s have a look at some more examples:
- Posso avere dell’acqua? Mi dispiace, non ce n’è!
Can I have some water? I am sorry, there isn’t any (of it)!
- Quanti invitati ci sono al matrimonio? Ce ne sono 100.
How many guests are there at the wedding? There are 100 (of them).
As you can see, in both examples ne refers back to a specific object mentioned in the question (in this case, water and guests).
C’è and ce n’è: Examples
Here are some more examples of the use of c’è/ci sono and ce n’è/ce ne sono:
- Ci sono ancora pesche? Sì, però ce ne sono poche.
Are there still some peaches? Yes, but there are only a few (of them).
- Non c’è il latte di soia? Sì, ce n’è una bottiglia piena, guarda lì!
Isn’t there some soy milk? Yes, there is a whole bottle (of it), look there!