What do c’è and ce n’è mean in Italian?
C’è and ce n’è are useful contractions in Italian that are commonly used in everyday speech.
Understanding these phrases will help you communicate more effectively in Italian.
First of all, it is helpful to see that both are contractions, even if they are never used in the full form of speaking.
- ci è =c’è
- ce ne è =ce n’è
How to use c’è and ce n’è?
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)
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 x of them or those).
Ci sono delle mele?
Are there some apples?
Sì, ce ne sono.
Yes, there are some of them.
How to use ce n’è and ce ne sono?
To summarize, c’è and ci sono and ce n’è and ce ne sono can both be translated as there is or there are.
However, ce n’è and 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 and ci sono and ce n’è and 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!
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