Ci metto: Italian grammar lesson 71

Summary

Unlock the secrets of the Italian language with our deep dive into the phrase ci metto. Learn how to express time taken for actions and travel like a native speaker, and never get tripped up by this tricky expression again!

  • Grasp ci metto: Forget the literal ‘to put’—ci metto is all about time! It’s the Italian way to say how long someone needs to do something. 🕒
  • Conjugation is Key: Nail the verb mettere to match who’s doing the action. “I take” is ci metto, “you take” is ci metti, and so on. Get this right, and you’re golden! ✨
  • Preposition Power: Hook up the action with “a” plus the infinitive verb. It’s like saying, “I take time TO do something” in Italian style. 🎣
  • Ci metto vs. ci vuole: It’s personal with ci metto, but ci vuole is for the general “it takes time.” Know the difference to avoid awkward mix-ups. 🤷‍♂️
  • Real-Life Examples: Use phrases like “Quanto ci metti?” to ask “How long does it take you?” Practical, everyday Italian at your fingertips. 🗣️
  • Impersonal vs. Personal: Remember, ci vuole is the impersonal star, while ci metto shines when it’s all about you or someone specific. 🌟

My thoughts

Ci metto: Explained

Many students struggle with the use of the particle ci in Italian because ci has several different meanings.

This lesson focuses on the very common use of ci: the idiomatic expression metterci, such as in ci metto.

Being an idiomatic expression, its meaning is not related to the verb mettere (= to put), which can be confusing for Italian learners.

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

In English, we can translate this expression as: it takes someone a certain time to perform a certain action.

Let’s take a look at this example:

(Io) Ci metto almeno 30 minuti a prepararmi.

It takes me at least 30 minutes to get ready.

Mettere: Conjugation

The present tense is used to describe the period of time it typically takes to complete an action or reach a destination.

The action is usually introduced by the preposition “a” + verb in infinitive tense.

Free Guide
How to Learn Languages Fast

Note: we need to conjugate the verb metterci according to the person who is completing the main action in the sentence:

  • (io) ci mettoit takes ME
  • (tu) ci mettiit takes YOU
  • (lui / lei) ci metteit takes HIM / HER
  • (noi) ci mettiamoit takes US
  • (voi) ci metteteit takes YOU
  • (loro) ci mettono it takes THEM

Metterci: examples

(Tu) Quanto ci metti ad arrivare in ufficio?

How long does it take you to get to the office?

(Lui) Quanto tempo ci mette a finire?

How long does it take him to finish?

(Noi) Ci mettiamo un’ora a preparare la cena.

It takes us one hour to cook dinner.

(Voi) Quanto ci mettete ad andare a Venezia in treno?

How long does it take you to get to Venice by train?

(Loro) Di solito ci mettono poco tempo.

It usually doesn’t take them long.

Ci metto: Comparison with ci vuole

As you might know, another idiomatic expression used to indicate how long it takes to complete an action is ci vuole / ci vogliono.

What is the main difference between metterci and volerci?

  • When we use metterci we emphasize how long it takes TO A CERTAIN PERSON to complete an action. This is why metterci is conjugated according to the person who performs the action.
  • When we use volerci the person who completes the action is not emphasized. It has an impersonal use (the meaning applies to everyone or anyone). The emphasis is instead on the time needed to complete the action. This is why volerci is conjugated according to the singular/plural meaning of the time expression.

Let’s compare two similar sentences, one with metterci and one with volerci.

Ci metto un’ora ad arrivare in centro.

It takes me one hour to get to the office (to me specifically)

Ci vuole un’ora ad arrivare in centro.

It takes one hour to get to the city center (to anyone, to people in general)

What is the use of CI in Italian?

Ci is a reflexive, direct, or indirect pronoun that denotes "we" or "us." Ci can also mean 'there,' as in the expressions c'è and ci sono (there is and there are).

What is volerci explained?

Volerci does not place emphasis on the person who completes the action. The focus is instead on how long it takes to complete the action.

What does metterci mean in Italian?

In Italian, we use "metterci" to denote the amount of time needed for someone or something to finish a particular task.

Italian word of the day
mangi
Example
Cosa mangi a colazione? Mangio una mela.
What do you have for breakfast? I eat an apple.
Follow me to fluency​

Create a free lifetime account to get access to all the free courses and other resources.

6 Responses

  1. @Piacere

    Ci ho messo, ci hai messo…? 🙂

    Dici le frasi tipo “se avessi… farei”?
    Sono nelle ultime lezioni di Ripeti Con Me che non sono anche disponibili.

  2. Little words in Italian are so often very confusing as they seem to mean so many things. Ne is the word that I really cannot understand when, why or even where to use unless it refers to ‘them’.

Leave a Reply

Take a free lesson today!

Create a free lifetime account to get access to all the free lessons and other resources.

I’ll also deliver my free resources my best offers to your mailbox (opt out at any time).

How to say what in Italian? What is a word used to start questions. In Italian, there are different ways of saying what using cosa, che cosa, che, and quale,...
Passato prossimo vs imperfetto in Italian grammar: when to use them? Basic rules, sample sentences, easy audio lessons with exercises to practice.
What does hai voglia di mean in Italian? In Italian, there are different ways to ask someone if they feel like doing something. If you want to ask a friend...
How to use adverbs of place in Italian? Learn the grammar with simple rules and examples and practice with audio lessons.
Try my courses for free​
Stefano
Log in

Reset password or get in touch.

Not a member yet? Join today!

How long to fluency?

Find out how long it will take you to master Italian!
Get on the right track in 3 minutes.

dolce vita logo

We're already friends!

Coming from Luca and Marina?
Here's a special deal for you!
Just tell me where I should send the coupon.

50% OFF
all language resources

We're already friends!

Coming from All Language Resources?
Here's a special deal for you!
Just tell me where I should send the coupon.

50% OFF
GRAB A COUPON NOW, REDEEM IT LATER
50% OFF

To receive free resources once a week together with my best offers, just tell me where to send everything. Opt out at any time.

Create a free lifetime account to get access to all the free lesson and other resources.