How to use “ne”: Italian grammar lesson 130

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Summary

Unlock the secrets of the Italian particle ne with our guide! Learn how this tiny word can pack a punch in your sentences, from expressing quantities to indicating removal from a place. Master the nuances of ne and add flair to your Italian conversations!

  • Quantity Talk: Use ne when you’re too cool to repeat yourself. It’s like saying “of it” or “of those” without the yawn. Example: “I want four” becomes “I want ne four.”
  • Grammar Ninja Move: Ne usually sneaks in before the verb, like a grammar ninja. It’s stealthy but crucial for sentences like “I’m out of ne here.”
  • Place Ditching: When you’re talking about escaping a place or situation, ne is your getaway car. “He came out unharmed” turns into “He came out ne unharmed.”
  • The Subtle Some: Drop ne when you’re too chill to specify amounts. “Would you like some?” becomes a breezy “Would you like ne?”
  • Verb Amping: Amp up certain intransitive verbs with ne. “I’m leaving” is for amateurs. Say “I’m ne leaving” to sound like a pro.
  • Infinitive Glue: When verbs are in their birthday suit (infinitive form), ne sticks to them like glue. “To talk about it” becomes “To talk ne about it.”
  • Command Fusion: In commands, ne fuses with the verb and pronoun to make one word. “Buy me one of those” levels up to “Buy ne me one.”

What is the particle ne in Italian?

First of all, we need to distinguish between and ne. They might sound the same in spoken language, but that accent makes all the difference in grammatical terms!

Let’s have a look at some examples of the use of the particle ne:

Io ne ho due.

I have two of those.

Ha avuto un incidente, ma ne è uscito illeso.

He had an accident, but he came out unharmed of it.

Ne vuoi?

Would you like some?

Me ne vado.

I am out of here.

Use ne in Italian

How to use the particle ne?

As you can see, ne usually comes before the verb it goes with.

In the four examples above, the particle ne has three different grammatical functions.

Let’s see what they are:

  • It can stand for a pronoun such as di ciò, di questo/a, di quello/a, etc. (of it, this, of that, of those), and can be used to talk about quantities.
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In this case, if you do not mention what you’re talking about, it is not optional:

Non ne voglio parlare.

I do not want to talk about it.

Tu quanti anni hai? Io ho 23 anni. = Io ne ho 23.

How old are you? I am 23.

Quanti bicchieri vuoi?
Voglio quattro bicchieri, per favore. = Ne voglio quattro per favore.

How many glasses do you want?
I want four, please.

  • It can be used to indicate removal from a place or a situation, standing for da lì (from there).

Ha avuto un incidente, ma ne è uscito illeso (dall’incidente).

He had an accident, but he came out unharmed.

  • It can mean some and can be used to substitute a noun that has been mentioned (or is implied in the situation.)

Ho comprato del pane. Ne vuoi?

I bought some bread, would you like some?

Sometimes, ne can be used to intensify the action of some intransitive verbs together with the personal pronouns. It is very common to see it with the verb andare:

Me ne vado.

I’m out of here.

ne in Italian

What are the exceptions for using ne?

As we have seen, ne almost always comes before the verb. However, there are some exceptions:

  • It comes after the verb when the verb is in the infinitive form (parlare, fare, etc.), and the particle ne joins onto it to form a single word (the same that happens with pronouns):

Voglio parlarne.

I want to talk about it.

Mi ha detto di comprarne due.

She told me to buy two.

  • It also comes after the verb when it is used with a verb in the imperative form and with a pronoun. In this case, it joins the verb with the pronoun, creating a single word.

Compramene uno, per favore!

Buy me one of those, please!

Dammene tre, grazie.

Give me three of those, thank you.

what does ne mean Italian

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FAQs on How to use “ne”: Italian grammar lesson 130

How do you use "ci" and "ne" in Italian?

When discussing a topic or location, the pronoun "ci" is used in place of a noun preceded by to or about, or in or to. On the other hand, the pronoun "ne" is used instead of a noun preceded by of or about when discussing a topic. Additionally, "ne" can also replace a quantity.

What does "ce ne sono" mean?

The Italian phrase "ci sono" translates to there are in English. On the other hand, "ce ne sono" means there are some of them.

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Example
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It’s a long day.
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