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Meanings of Italian “CI”

Posted by Monica Corrias on June 4, 2009

Italian language teacher with many years of experience here for your Italian lesson

 

Some students have a lot of trouble  with the Italian “CI” because it has several different meanings.

The most common meaning of “CI” is the adverb of place  = “There”,  do you remember “c’è” and “ci sono”= “There is” and “there are”?  (also we use it to avoid repeating the name of a place which we have already mentioned). 

Besides “CI” is a personal pronoun and it can be a reflexive, a direct object or an indirect object pronoun.

In everyday speech the “CI” is often used with the verb “avere” and means possession.  Generally we used it to reply:

Hai una sigaretta? (or, very informal language, “ c’hai una sigaretta?”) –>  Do you have a cigarette?/ Have you got a cigarette?

In the answer we have to use “CI” + the direct pronouns (lo; la; li; le) and “CI” becomes  “CE”:  

Sì, ce l’ho! –> Yes, I have

But  today I’ll focus on one of the most difficult  uses 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!

  • Here I would like to give you some examples of “CI” when takes the place of the prepositions “CON” or “A”   …  [read more]

11 Responses to “Meanings of Italian “CI””

  1. Such a Nice description of meanings of those words, the thing that I like about this post is that the description is not very complicated, it is very easy to understand.

    Ci sono!🙂.

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  3. Facebooker said

    Anybody knows the meaning of ‘ci 6’??? An italian gal, while chatting with me on FB, keeps saying ‘ci 6’. I’ve tried to translate it in english, but i don;t really understand what she wants to say. Please help
    Thank u

    • Monica said

      Ci 6 = ci sei (verb “to be”) è un linguaggio tipico delle chat. Il primo significato nelle chat è: ci sei = sei lì? = sei in linea? per gli altri significati rileggi il mio post.
      Abbreviazioni tipiche su Fb e sulle chat:
      6 = sei
      x = per
      + = più
      – = meno
      nn = non
      xkè = perché
      tvb = ti voglio bene

  4. John said

    I do not understand the use of ‘ci’in the sentence:
    Quanto tempo ci hai messo a imparare l’italiano?

    • Monica said

      In this particular case “CI” means “it” (=time/tempo) > How long did IT TAKE you to = Quanto tempo CI hai messo …

      MA “ci” è all’interno del verbo! > “metterci

      Quanto (tempo) CI metti per andare a scuola la mattina? > How long does IT take you to get to school in the morning?

      Read the rest of the post about “CI”

      • John said

        Grazie infinite Monica.
        Questo significa che la parola sia ridondante nella frase che ho offerto? O è ancora necessario includerla?

      • Monica said

        Ciao John,
        in realtà sembra ridondante, ma non lo è: devo usare il “CI” perché fa parte del verbo, inoltre mi indica che sto parlando del tempo. In caso contrario io (come italiana), non capirei la frase.

        Pensa alla differenza fra queste frasi:
        “Per andare a scuola quanto metti?” …> metti cosa? carburante?
        ma
        “Per andare a scuola quanto CI metti?” …> 25 minuti

        Nella seconda il CI spiega chiaramente che sto parlando del tempo, quindi posso rispondere senza dover chiedere spiegazioni🙂

        Spero di essere stata chiara. Ciao

  5. John said

    Una domanda ultima ( o non!)

    Se cambio la frase “Per andare a scuola quanto metti” –> “Per andare a scuola quanto tempo metti” c’e`una differenza ovvia, vero? La frase seconda usa ‘tempo’ ma secondo le regole della grammatica italiana io ancora devo usare CI (tempo), anche se ho già usato la parola tempo?
    Per l’orecchio inglese questo suona come una tautologia.

    • Monica said

      Sì John, ad un anglofono il “CI” sembra pleonastico, ma hai capito benissimo: devi usare il “CI”, altrimenti all’orecchio italiano suona malissimo, oltre ad essere grammaticalmente non a norma.

  6. Jed said

    Monica mentioned before/ Monica ha menzionato prima che:

    In this particular case “CI” means “it” (=time/tempo) > How long did IT TAKE you to = Quanto tempo CI hai messo …

    MA “ci” è all’interno del verbo! > “metterci”

    Quanto (tempo) CI metti per andare a scuola la mattina? > How long does IT take you to get to school in the morning?
    ___________________________________________________________

    CI, does in fact stand for the IT from english in that sentence. One thing to ask yourself is why in English do we even say IT in that sentence anyway. In English, explain to another english speaker what the IT is explaining. Essentially the IT corresponds with the verb GET (going/arriving) which entails time.

    If nothing else, just memorize the phrase and find more examples like it.

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