Ci, Vi, And Ne In Italian

We've learned about the reflexive pronouns ci and vi, and the partitive pronoun ne, but the Italian pronouns ci, vi, and ne all have secret powers that other pronouns don't have. Can you guess what it is?

The secret is, they all have the ability to double as adverbs!

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In much the same way that ne works to back-reference things in its role as a partitive pronoun, ci, vi, and ne can be used as adverbs to back-reference a preposition.

In this usage, the words ci, vi, and ne work like the English prepositions to here, to there, and from here (respectively). Vi is very rarely used in this manner, however. Ci is favored.

For example, in the sentence "Sono andato a Parma la settimana scorsa," the preposition a Parma could be replaced with ci to say, "Ci sono andato la settimana scorsa." In this case, ci replaces a Parma.

This also help to explain the constructions c'è and ci sono, which mean there is and there are. For example, "C'è un bicchiere di vino sul tavolo."

In most cases for to here and to there, you will use ci, as vi is rarely used. (I was unable to find any examples of vi used in this way, but I find it listed among explanations, so I gather that the important thing is to recognize it when you see it.) And for the phrase from here and from there, you will use ne.

For example, in the sentence, "Torno del lavoro alle 5,", the preposition dal lavoro can be replaced by ne to say, "Ne torno alle 5."

Finally, I found a couple of idiomatic phrases which use ci and ne - farcela, andarsene, and poterne.

Ce l'ho fatta!
-I did it!

Non ce la faccio.
-I'm not doing it.

Me ne vado!
-I'm out of here!

Non ne posso più!
-I can't take any more!

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  • Randy Yearlyglot

    re: "I was unable to find any examples of vi used in this way"I've found one, don't know whether it's useful, it's a 1940s Italian translation from German of a book from the 30s: "Avevamo guardato se non vi era nessuno" --i've seen "vi" used for this it a few times in the book without noting the sentences - -- i'm just trying to learn quick reading italian for now but having a terrible time with these particles, which prompted the search that got me to this page -glad to see the explanation above -on the topic of dated usages, this book uses "voi" as the formal 2nd person singular, which is outdated if I understand -should also mention the setting is South Tyrol, so maybe local dialect is the issue

  • Randy Yearlyglot

    On page 14 of the translaton of the book "Alle Sorgente Del Mississippi" by Hans Otto Meissner , there is the following:" sono anche in altri paesi delle persone in gamba". I thought this might be of interest to you in view what you say in your last paragraph

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