The particle ci

As is the case with pronouns, ci (mostly translated as either “us” or “there”) generally comes before the verb. It can be used as follows:

  • To replace the pronouns noi (us) and a noi (to us):

Lucia ha salutato noi. → Lucia ci ha salutati. 

Lucia greeted us.

Tua madre ha regalato a noi un cane. → Tua madre ci ha regalato un cane.

Your mother gave us a dog.

  • To replace a complement of place (in which case it usually means “there”):

– Sei andato in piscina? – Sì, ci sono andato questa mattina.

–Did you go to the swimming pool? –Yes, I went there this morning.

– Vittorio è dal dottore? – No, ci è stato ieri.

–Is Vittorio at the doctor's? –No, he was there yesterday.

  • With verbs followed by the prepositions a (about), su (on) and con (with):

– Pensi a Giacomo? – Sì, ci penso sempre!

–Do you think about Giacomo? –Yes, I think about him all the time!

– Scherzi sempre su questo argomento. – Vero, ci scherzo spesso!

–You always joke about that issue. –You're right, I often joke about it!

– Non vuoi giocare con il pallone? – No, non ci voglio più giocare.

–Don't you want to play with the ball? –No, I don't want to play with it any more.

A few common expressions that use ci:

Ci sei? – Ci sono!

–Are you there? –I'm here!

Ecco, ci risiamo.

Here we go again (literally, “here we are again”).

Non ci arrivo. 

I can't manage it.

Non ci vuole tanto.

It doesn't take much.

Non ci pensare.

Don't think about it.

Notes:

  • Ci can be attached to the end of an infinitive verb (-are, -ere or -ire), in which case the last vowel of the verb is dropped:

Non ci posso fare niente. → Non posso farci niente.

I can't do anything about it.

  • Ci can also be placed at the end of an imperative verb (used to give commands); in that case, we add an extra -c- after sta' (be) and va' (go):

Non voglio andare al supermercato... Vacci tu!

I don't want to go to the supermarket... You go (there)!



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