Today I’ll focus on one of the most difficult use of “CI”. It’s not actually difficult, but anyway you have to know and memorize the right Italian preposition used after a verb. In fact “CI” sometimes takes the place of a sentence introduced by “a” or “su” or “con” or “in” (even though mostly it takes the place of “a questo”), moreover “CI” is used in some idiomatic phrases e.g.
Ci puoi scommettere (or puoi scommetterci)! –> You bet!
Ci sono! = ho capito –> I’ve got it! (I have understood)
Io ci sto! –> Count me in!
Contaci! –> Count on it!/Bank on it!
Uscire con A: “Quando esci con Marco?” –> When are you going out with Marco?
B: “Ci esco domani” (“CI “ means “con” Marco) –> I’m going out with him tomorrow
Credere a “non ci posso credere”/“non ci credo” –> I can’t/don’t believe it (the meaning depends on the context)
Pensare a “non ci penso mai” –> I never think about it
“pensaci!” –> Think about it
Provare a “provaci!” –> Try to do …
“ci ho provato, ma … ” –> I’ve tried (to do sth), but …
Riuscire a “ci riesci?” (but also “ci riesci a farlo?”) –> do you manage to do it?
As I just told you, “CI” often substitutes an “a + something” phrase, in Italian the verb “riuscire” is followed by “a + infinitive” :
“riuscire a fare qualcosa” = “to manage to do something”
Generally we only use “CI” to replace what has already been said, but be careful, we can use “CI” also when putting emphasis on a question. E.g.
Monica: Sei riuscito a impararlo? (or “Ci” sei riuscito a impararlo?”) –> Did you manage to learn it?
Luca: Sì, ci sono riuscito (a impararlo) cambiando punto di vista –> Yes, I managed to (learn it) by changing point of view.
So here, both in Italian and in English, “to learn it / a impararlo” is not repeated in the answer, but in Italian “CI” is required.
Vederci/sentirci “non ci vedo/sento” –> I can’t see/hear
Metterci “ci ho messo 2 giorni” –> it took me 2 days [but “mettere” = to put]
Volerci “ci vuole pazienza” –> it takes patience [but “volere” = to want]
They are used when you would say “takes” in English in reference to the amount of time or the number of resources (like ingredients or people) needed to do something, therefore the verb is singular when the amount of time is singular and the verb is plural when the number of hours are plural.
Ci vuole un’ora (singular) per andare a Fiumicino –> “It takes one hour to get to Fiumicino”
Ci vuole molto coraggio (singular) per … –> “It takes a lot of courage to …”
Ci vogliono tre ore (plural) per andare a Firenze –> ”It takes three hours to get to Firenze”
Quante uova ci vogliono (uova is plural) per fare la torta al cioccolato? –> “How many eggs do you need to make a chocolate cake?
But the subject of “Metterci” is the person performing the action, so…
Di solito (io) ci metto un’ora per andare a Fiumicino –> ”Usually it takes me an hour to get to Fiumicino”
(Lui) Ci ha messo tre giorni per arrivare qui –> “It has taken him three days to get here”
(Loro) Ci hanno messo due ore per finire i compiti –> “It took them two hours to finish their homework”