Ci vuole: Italian grammar lesson 70

Key Takeaways

Get ready to crack the code on using ci vuole and ci vogliono in Italian! This guide will demystify these tricky phrases, showing you exactly when to use them to talk about time and travel. 🚀🇮🇹

  • Forget “wanting”: Though volere means “to want,” toss that out the window. Here, ci vuole and ci vogliono are all about time needed, not desires. 🕒
  • English Buddy: Think of ci vuole as your Italian pal for the English “it takes.” They’re basically twins separated at birth when you’re timing actions or trips. ⏱️
  • Singular vs. Plural: Use ci vuole for solo time units like “un minuto,” and ci vogliono when you’ve got a bunch, like “20 minuti.” It’s a numbers game! 🎲
  • General Timing: Present tense ci vuole or ci vogliono give you the usual scoop on how long something takes, not the specifics. It’s the average Joe of time estimates. 🏙️
  • Real-life Examples: Use these phrases to sound like a local when chatting about course durations or travel times. Impress with your practical Italian! 🚌🗣️

Quick facts

What does "ci vuole" literally translate to in English?

"Ci vuole" translates to "it takes," referring to the time needed to complete a task.

How is "ci vogliono" different from "ci vuole"?

"Ci vogliono" is used for plural time periods, while "ci vuole" is for singular time periods.

When should you use "ci vuole" in a sentence?

Use "ci vuole" for singular time periods like "un minuto" or "un'ora."

Can "ci vogliono" be used for any plural time expressions?

Yes, "ci vogliono" is used for plural time periods such as "tre ore" or "due settimane."

What is the infinitive form of "ci vuole" and "ci vogliono"?

The infinitive form is "volerci," which means "to take time."

How would you describe the idiomatic use of "ci vuole"?

It’s used to express the time required to complete an action or reach a destination.

Does "ci vuole" have any connection to the verb "volere" (to want)?

No, despite "volere" meaning "to want," "ci vuole" is about needing time, not desire.

How do you ask about the time required to complete an Italian course?

Use "Quanto tempo ci vuole per completare questo corso di Italiano?"

What type of verb is "volerci" in Italian?

"Volerci" is an idiomatic verb used specifically to discuss the time needed for actions or travel.

Can "ci vuole" and "ci vogliono" describe both specific and general time estimations?

Yes, they are often used for general estimations but can describe specific instances as well.

My Thoughts

Ci vuole: Explained

Many students struggle with understanding when and how ci should be used in Italian because this particle has several different meanings.

This lesson focuses on a very common use of ci: the idiomatic expressions ci vuole / ci vogliono (the infinitive form is volerci).

This can be confusing because the original meaning of the verb volere is “to want”, but this idiomatic expression has nothing to do with expressing a want or desire.

Instead, ci paired with the verb volere is used when we want to talk about a period that is needed to do something (such as completing an action) or go somewhere (get to a destination).

In this case, it usually corresponds to the English translation “it takes”, as in “how long does it take?”.

Let’s take a look at some examples:

Da Milano a Roma ci vogliono 3 ore di treno.

It takes 3 hours by train to get from Milan to Rome.

Ci vuole solo un attimo.

It only takes a moment.

Per andare in centro in autobus ci vogliono 20 minuti.

It takes 20 minutes to get to the city center by bus.

Per andare in centro in autobus ci vogliono 20 minuti.

It takes 20 minutes to get to the city center by bus.

🔊
Ci vuole un'ora per preparare la cena.

Practice with Quizlet

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

Ci vuole: Conjugation

The present tense (ci vuole and ci vogliono) is used to describe the period of time it typically takes to reach a destination.

This has a general meaning and does not refer to any specific instance. For example:

Per andare in centro in autobus ci vogliono 20 minuti.

This sentence means that it usually takes 20 minutes to get to the city center by bus. It is a general estimation.

But when do we use ci vuole, and when do we use ci vogliono?

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How to Learn Languages Fast

To understand which one to use, we need to remind ourselves that the sentence subject is the period of time needed to get to the destination.

Therefore, if the period of time has a singular meaning we use ci vuole, and if it has a plural meaning we use ci vogliono.

Examples of periods of time with a singular meaning:

  • un minuto (=one minute)
  • un attimo/un momento (=one moment)
  • un’ora (=one hour)
  • un giorno (=one day)
  • una settimana (= one week)
  • tempo (= time)

Quanto tempo ci vuole per completare questo corso di Italiano?

How long does it take to complete this Italian language course?

Examples of periods of time with a plural meaning:

  • 20 minuti (=20 minutes)
  • tre ore (=three hours)
  • cinque giorni (=five days)
  • sette anni (= seven years)
  • mesi (= months)
  • settimane (= weeks)

Quante settimane ci vogliono per completare questo corso di Italiano?

How many weeks does it take to complete this Italian language course?

Test your knowledge in 10 quick questions

FAQs

How do you use ci vuole in Italian?

The present tense (ci vuole and ci vogliono) is used to describe how long it usually takes to get somewhere. This has a broad meaning and does not refer to any particular instance.

How do you use Volerci in Italian?

Volerci can be translated as "to be required," "to be needed," or "to be necessary." In English, we frequently use "it takes" or "you need" to express this idea in casual conversation.

Italian word of the day
capivo
Example
Non capivo più niente dal sonno.
I was so tired that I couldn’t think.
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