Pronoun “ci” for places (c’è, ci sono): Italian grammar lesson 34

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Ci as a pronoun referring to places

Ci is an extremely useful and frequently occurring pronoun in Italian. Pronouns are words that refer and substitute nouns, usually expressed in a previous sentence or implied in the context.

  • Ci has a few different uses and meanings, and this lesson focuses on its use when it refers to previously mentioned places. For example:

Sei mai stato in Italia? – No, ma ci voglio andare l’anno prossimo.

Have you ever been to Italy? – No, but I want to go there next year.

Non voglio andare al cinema oggi, ci siamo andati ieri!

I don’t want to go to the cinema today, we went there yesterday.

Vieni alla mia festa? Sì, ci vengo!

Are you coming to my party? Yes, I’m coming (to your party).

Quando andate a Roma? – Ci andiamo domani

When are you going to Rome? – We are going there tomorrow.

  • As all other Italian pronouns, when ci is used with verbs in the infinitive form, it it is attached to the end of the verb, as follows:

Sei mai stato in Italia? – No, ma voglio andarci l’anno prossimo.

Have you ever been to Italy? – No, but I want to go there next year.

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Quando devi tornare in ospedale? – Devo tornarci domani.

When do you need to go back to the hospital? – I need to go back there tomorrow.

Ci in the expressions c’è / ci sono

This ci is the same used in the expressions c’è / ci sono, where it usually implies the meaning of “here”, “there”, or “this/that place”, as in the following examples:

Qui non c’è nessuno.

There is nobody here.

Ci sono molte persone in questo ristorante.

There are many people here in this restaurant.

Ci in idiomatic phrases with the verb entrare

Ci is used in some common idiomatic phrases together with the verb entrare (= the literal meaning of entrare is to go in, to fit inside). In this case, “ci” refers to metaphorical place or situation. These phrases are idioms, so they cannot be translated literally in English. Let’s look at some examples:

Io non c’entro.

This has nothing to do with me. (literally = I do not fit anywhere in this situation)

Cosa c’entra questo?

What’s this got to do with it?

Where to put ci in sentences?

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Here’s a statement:

Devi venire in Italia! – You have to come to Italy!


Sì, ci voglio venire!

Or you could say:

Sì, voglio venirci!

Both of these mean “Yes, I want to come!”

But think of it as “Yes, I want to come THERE” where THERE implies/takes the place of TO ITALY.

Why are there two ways of saying this?

Because in Italian, unless you’re using a compound verb tense with auxiliary verbs, when you have two verbs next to each other, the first will get conjugated and the second will not.

When a verb is not conjugated it’s referred to as being/remaining in its infinitive form. And whenever a verb is in its infinitive form, you can tack on Direct Object Pronoun (DOP) and Indirect Object Pronoun (IOP) onto the end of them.

I find this to be an easier way to form a statement in Italian because the ordering of words is more similar to English than with having the pronoun before the verb. Keep in mind, though, that this can only be done in the kinds of situations as in the example above.

Italian audio lesson with using c’è, ci sono

To practice the pronoun ci, c’è and ci sono, take Lesson 34 of the Italian audio course “Ripeti con me!”.

Here’s a preview:

File A

File B

File C

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