How to say “there is” and “there are”: Italian grammar lesson 26


Unlock the secrets of Italian with our guide on using c’è and ci sono! Learn to express “there is” and “there are” like a native and add flair to your Italian conversations. 🇮🇹✨

  • Get the Basics Right: C’è and ci sono are your go-to phrases for “there is” and “there are” in Italian. They’re super handy and pop up all the time in chit-chat. 🗣️
  • Match the Number: Use c’è for singular stuff and ci sono when you’re talking about a bunch of things. It’s like matching your socks – gotta get the pair right! 👌
  • Conjugation is a Breeze: Chill out, conjugation is easy-peasy with just two forms to remember for each tense – third person singular and plural. 🍃
  • Present Tense Pro: Saying c’è for sunny days and ci sono for apples in the fridge will make you sound like you’ve been speaking Italian forever. ☀️🍏
  • Past Tense Power: Flashback to past events with c’era for that one sunflower field or c’erano for the missing towels at the hotel. 🌻🏨
  • Future Tense Finesse: Predict the future with style using ci sarà for upcoming conferences or ci saranno for the crowd at tonight’s dinner. 🔮🍽️
  • Keep it Smooth: The apostrophe in c’è is not just for show – it keeps your speech flowing like a fine Italian wine. 🍷
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Try out these phrases in everyday convo. The more you use ’em, the more Italian you’ll sound. And who doesn’t want that? 🤷‍♂️🚀

My thoughts

How to say there is/there are in Italian: c’è and ci sono

The English expressions “there is” and “there are” are very common.

In the same way, the Italian equivalent expressions c’è and ci sono are used very frequently, often at the beginning of sentences.

These expressions are relatively easy to master and very useful since they are used a lot in everyday conversation.

As far as their meaning is concerned, c’è and ci sono indicate the presence of people, animals, or objects in a specific place.

The logic is very similar to the use of there is / there are in English.

For example:

Il gatto è sul tavolo → C’è un gatto sul tavolo.

The cat is on the table → There is a cat on the table.

C’è was original ci è, but the high frequency of use led to the more concise and easier-to-pronounce form c’è.

This often happens in Italian when one word ends with a vowel, and the following one starts with a vowel.

The apostrophe between c and è is used to indicate the omission of the letter “i” in the pronoun ci.

C’è/ci sono: Conjugation

One of the reasons why the expressions c’è, and ci sono are relatively easy to master for Italian learners is that for each different tense, only two forms of the verb essere are used: the third person singular and the third person plural conjugation.

The third-person singular form (c’è for the present indicative) is used when the subject is a singular noun.

The third-person plural form (ci sono for the present indicative) is used when the subject is a plural noun.

Here are the most common indicative tenses and the corresponding conjugations:

Presente Imperfetto Passato prossimo Futuro semplice
Singular C’è C’era C’è stato Ci sarà
Plural Ci sono C’erano Ci sono stati/e Ci saranno

C’è/Ci sono: Examples

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Let’s look at some sentences to see when it’s suitable to use the expression c’è/ci sono for different tenses:

  • Presente (present tense): c’è / ci sono

Oggi c’è il sole.

Today it’s sunny (= There is the sun today)

Ci sono mele in frigo?

Are there any apples in the fridge?

  • Imperfetto (past tense): c’era / c’erano

Venti anni fa qui c’era un campo di girasoli invece di questo palazzo.

There used to be a sunflower field here twenty years ago instead of this building.

In hotel non c’erano asciugamani.

There were no towels in the hotel.

C’è stato molto rumore.

There was a lot of noise.

Ci sono stati problemi ieri a lavoro?

Were there any problems at work yesterday?

Dopo la lezione ci sono state molte domande.

There were many questions after the class.

Domani ci sarà una conferenza sul riscaldamento globale.

Tomorrow there will be a conference on global warming.

Stasera ci saranno molte persone al ristorante.

There will be many people at the restaurant tonight.

Practice with Quizlet

Here's a set of flashcards and quizzes to practice this grammar topic.

C’è and ci sono: Italian grammar

The words “there is” and “there are” are frequently used in English.

Similarly, the equivalent Italian words c’è and ci sono are frequently used, often at the beginning of phrases.

Because only the third-person singular and third-person plural conjugations of the verb essere are used for each different tense, the expressions c’è and ci sono are relatively simple for learners of Italian to master.

What are c'è and ci sono in Italian?

C'è and ci sono respectively mean "there is" and "there are". These expressions are used very frequently in Italian, and they express the presence of objects, persons, or animals in a specific place.

What's the difference between c'è and ci sono?

C'è means "there is" and is used when the subject is a singular noun. Ci sono means "there are" and is used when the subject is a plural noun.

Is Sono singular or plural?

In English, we use the words "there is" (singular) and "there are" (plural) to talk about something's existence or presence. The exact translations into Italian are "c'è" (singular) and "ci sono" (plural).

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4 Responses

  1. In the quiz, the question “Nell’armadio….” the correct answer was c’`e – your response made it clear to me this is a typo. Your reply was helpful and aligns with my previous understanding of c’è and ci sono. You may want to check the question on the website.

    1. Ciao Denni!

      We’re happy to read our answer was helpful!

      And we’ll be sure to check the question on Quizlet.

  2. I don’t see an explanation for the difference between c’`e and c’è. Can you please clarify. Why on the quizlet is the answer to nell’armadio _______ il vestito, c’`e? Thank you!

    1. Ciao Denni!

      The difference between ce and c’è is that ce is the first person plural personal pronoun meaning a noi while c’è is a contraction of ci è the third person present indicative of verb essere (to be). In English, it means there is.

      On Quizlet the correct answer is “Nell’armadio c’è il vestito” because il vestito is a singular noun. It would be ci sono if the noun was plural (i vestiti).

      Please let me know if I’ve answered your question or if you still have any doubts.

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