Pronoun “ci” for places: Italian grammar lesson 34

Learn to refer to places in Italian by using the pronoun “ci” as in “c’è/ci sono.” Simple rules, explanations, conjugations, sentences, and exercises are all included in this grammar lesson.
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How to use the Italian ci 1

What does ci mean in Italian?

Ci is an extremely useful and frequently occurring pronoun in Italian.

Pronouns are short words that refer to and replace nouns, usually expressed in a previous sentence or implied in the context.

Think of the English word “it”. “It” might refer to a thing, animal, idea, or concept, like in the examples below:

A: What do you think about my new house?
B: It is really nice!

A: Do you think we should go to see Anna?
B: I think it is a great idea!

Like “it”, ci has a few different uses and meanings.

This lesson focuses on when it refers to previously mentioned places. For example:

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

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

Italian ci what does it mean

Ci as a pronoun referring to places

Ci can refer to a place that was previously mentioned in the sentence or dialogue.

Since we don’t want to repeat the same word, we can say ci.

In this case, it’s pretty similar to the English word there.

There can be pretty handy if we don’t want to repeat the place that was just mentioned.

Have a look at the examples below:

A: Quando andate a Roma?
B: Ci andiamo domani

A: When are you going to Rome?
B: We are going there tomorrow.

Vieni alla mia festa? Sì, ci vengo!

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

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

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

As you can see in the examples above, the word ci goes before the verb, unlike in English.

What does ci mean in Italian

Where to put ci in a sentence?

As we said, ci usually goes before the conjugated verb (i.e.: ci vengo, ci andiamo).

However, like all other Italian pronouns, when ci is used with verbs in the infinitive form (i.e.: andare, tornare, etc.), it can be attached to the end of the verb, as follows:

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

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

A: Quando devi tornare in ospedale?
B:
Devo tornarci domani.

A: When do you need to go back to the hospital?
B: I need to go back there tomorrow.

Ci referring to places in Italian

When can ci go after the verb?

Have a look at the following two possible ways of saying the same thing in this dialogue:

A: Devi venire in Italia!
B: Sì, ci voglio venire!
OR
B: Sì, voglio venirci!

A: You have to come to Italy!
B: Yes, I want to come (there)!

Why are there two ways of saying this?

Because in Italian, in some cases when you have two verbs next to each other, the first will get conjugated (i.e.: Voglio) and the second (i.e.: venire) will not.

When a verb is not conjugated it means it is in the infinitive (its base form like mangiare, leggere, dormire).

Whenever a verb is in its infinitive form (i.e.: venire), you can tack on certain pronouns onto the end of it (i.e.: venirci).

Thus, in this specific case, we can have the pronoun either before both verbs or attached to the end of the one that’s in the infinitive.

Having the pronoun at the end of the verb (rather than before) is more similar to English, so it should be easier for you to say it.

Keep in mind, though, that this can only be done in certain situations like in the example above.

What does ci mean Italian

Ci in the expressions c’è / ci sono

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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.

What does ci mean

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 a symbolic place or situation. These phrases are idioms, so they cannot be translated literally into 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? (Literally: What/How does this fit in here?)

Ci before or after a verb in Italian

The pronoun “ci” for places in the Italian language

Ci is an extremely useful and frequently occurring pronoun in Italian.

It can refer to a place that was previously mentioned in the sentence or dialogue.

Ci usually goes before the conjugated verb (i.e.: ci vengo, ci andiamo).

However, ci can be added to the end of a verb when it is used with verbs in the infinitive form.

Ci is also frequently used in idiomatic expressions with the verb entrare; in these cases, “ci” indicates a symbolic location or circumstance.

Still translating in your head? Wanna speak Italian for real? Check out Stefano's courses to think directly in Italian and become fluent fast!

FAQs on Pronoun “ci” for places: Italian grammar lesson 34

What does CI stand for Italian?

"Ci" is most frequently used as a direct object pronoun. "Ci" refers specifically to anything involving the "us" (as in, "you and me").

How do you use CI in Italian?

Ci's most basic function is as a direct or indirect personal pronoun. Ci is used in this instance in place of "We" and "To us." Consider these two examples: La macchina ci ha portato in ospedale –> La macchina ha portato noi in ospedale.

What is the difference between CE and CI in Italian?

When referring to something in the singular (only one), we say "c'è," and when referring to something in the plural (many), we say "ci."

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