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The Italian “NE”

What does the Italian “NE” mean? Can I omit it?

In Italian it has several different meanings. The “NE” is absolutely necessary  and I cannot omit it!

First of all, as you probably know, “NE”  is a pronoun and we used it with quantities (“some”, “any”, “a little” or a number and can also mean “of that or of them”). Careful:  we use it to avoid repeating the name that we have already mentioned therefore you cannot leave it.

E.g.

  • Avete degli amici italiani? = Have you got any Italian friends?

No, non ne abbiamo =  No, we haven’t (of them).   Ne replaces “some friends”

  • Vorrei un bottiglia d’acqua … ne ha una più piccola? =  I’d like a bottle of water, do you have a smaller one (of it)?   Ne replaces “one/a bottle”
  • Luca ha un cane = Luca has a dog

Io ne ho due = I have two of them.   Ne replaces “two dogs”

  • Le forchette non bastano, dammene delle altre = There aren’t enough forks, give me some more (of them).  Ne replaces “more forks”
  • Vorrei del prosciutto crudo = I’d like some prosciutto

Mi dispiace, non ce n’è più = I’m sorry, there isn’t any left (of it).

  • Ho una nuova macchina = I’ve a new car

Ne vorrei una anch’io! = I’d like a new one too (a/one car)

–  Beside “NE” takes  the place of the prepositions “DI” or of  sentence  introduced by “di” = “of”  (even though mostly  it takes the place of “di questo” = “about it”):

  • Che ne pensi di Paolo? =  What do you think about Paolo?   (“NE” in this case is what you probably call a redundancy, but in Italian it is absolutely necessary!)
  • Ne ho abbastanza di Paolo! =  I’ve had enough of Paolo!
  • Ne sono felice = I’m happy about it

– In addition to this, “NE” is used  in some idiomatic phrases.  Here I would like to give you some examples:

  • NE vale la pena!  = Be worth it!  (Here the subject is not mentioned and the “ne” refers to it).
  • Ho speso molto, ma NE è valsa la pena = I spent a lot, but it was worth it
  • Non NE posso più! = I can’t stand it (any longer)
  • Chi se NE frega / importa! = Who cares! (verbo pronominale)

NE and Pronominal verbs (special verbs conjugated with one or two different pronoun particles):

Last but not least “NE” often is used in several verbs named “PRONOMINAL VERBS” where the “NE” can mean “about it,” “any,” “some,” or “from there.”

One of the most useful “pronominal verbs” using “NE” is “ANDARSENE” ( –> andare + SI + NE) in which the reflexive pronoun “SI”  is used to emphasize the concept; “NE” here is an adverb and means “from there.”  It means to go away:

  • Vattene! = Go away!
  • Ciao, me ne vado = Bye, I’m going away
  • Devo andarmene/Me ne devo andare! = I have to get out (of here)!

This pattern can be applied to other verbs,  frequent are:

IMPORTARSENE (–> importare + si + ne) = To not care about

  • Non me ne importa = I don’t care (about it).
  • Non me ne importa niente = I don’t care at all

FREGARSENE (–> fregare + si + ne)

Fregarsene is very common but unpolite or colloquial, (to be avoided in formal situations)

Fregarsene means  to not give a damn ; not to care about

  •  Me ne frego! = I don’t give a damn!

7 Responses to “The Italian “NE””

  1. […] Mi dispiace, non ce n’è più = I’m sorry, there isn’t any left (of it).  [read more] […]

  2. Andrey said

    That was very useful, thanks!!!

  3. David T said

    Buon Giorno Monica!
    Sto cercando di combinare due delle tue lezioni. Voglio combinare dovere + infinitivo + “ne.” Per esempio, “Devi scrive delle cartoline oggi?” “Si devo scrivere due.” Penso che si dice “Ne devo scrivere due” ma non sono sicuro. Penso che io abbia visto ne al fine delle parole (scriverne?)

    Grazie di nuovo!

    Davide

    • Monica said

      Ciao Davide,
      in realtà quando hai un verbo modale più l’infinito hai due possibilità, cioè il “NE” (come anche gli altri pronomi), si possono mettere prima del verbo modale o all’interno dell’infinito che segue il modale.
      Ecco due esempi:
      Quante cartoline devi scrivere?
      a) NE devo scrivere due
      b) Devo scriverNE due

      Quanta pasta vuoi oggi?
      a) Oggi NE voglio mangiare poca
      b) Oggi voglio mangiarNE poca

      A te la scelta.

      Monica

  4. Deogratias said

    Hello Monica,
    I have very much been impressed with the way you have clarified the uses of an italian “ne”. Please may you tell how am I supposed to use “ne” instead of LI, Lo, La, Le, which are indirect object pronouns.
    Deogratias

  5. Deogratias said

    Hello Monica,
    I have very much been impressed with the way you have clarified the uses of an italian “ne”. Please may you tell me when am I supposed to use “ne” instead of LI, Lo, La, Le, which are direct object pronouns.
    Deogratias

  6. Dee said

    this site and explanation was AWESOME! it really helped me very, very much. I only slightly understood what the word meant, I just didn’t understand how to execute using it. Thank you for posting this

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