Ce La Fai? Posted by Serena on Apr 23, 2010 in Grammar
Farcela is a very commonly used idiomatic expression which means ‘to manage’ [to do something], or ‘to succeed’. It is composed of the verb fare (to make/to do) and the pronouns ‘ce’ and ‘la’. It can be used on its own, e.g. ce la fai? (can you manage?), or it can be followed by the preposition ‘a’ and an infinitive, e.g. ce la fai a passarmi quella scatola lassù? (can you manage to pass me that box up there?).
Here are some more examples of how to use it, firstly in the present tense:
ce la fate ad essere pronti per le otto? (can you [plural] manage to be ready by eight o’ clock?)
questo quadro è molto pesante, non so se ce la faccio a portarlo da solo (this picture is very heavy, I don’t know if I can manage to carry it on my own)
se ce la facciamo, passiamo a salutarvi prima di partire (if we can manage it, we’ll come by to say goodbye before we leave)
…now in the future tense:
non so se ce la faremo a venire al cinema stasera (I don’t know if we’ll be able to come to the cinema this evening)
ce la faranno i nostri eroi a ……? (will our heroes manage to ….?) this was the classic dramatic ending in many of the fumetti (comics) that I read as a child.
ce la farà Giovanni a prendere l’aereo? (will Giovanni manage to catch the plane?)
…and in the past tense (passato prossimo – present perfect):
anche se il treno era in ritardo, ce l’abbiamo fatta ad arrivare in tempo (even though the train was late, we managed to arrive on time)
Cecilia non ce l’ha fatta a superare l’esame di Latino (Cecilia didn’t manage to pass the Latin exam)
è stata dura ma ce l’ho fatta! (it was hard but I managed it!)
N.B. as you can see in the examples given above, the pronoun ‘la’ changes the past participle ‘fatto‘ to ‘fatta‘.
There are a couple of other idiomatic expressions which share the same construction as farcela, and therefore follow the same rules. The first is avercela, which means ‘to be upset with’ or ‘annoyed with’ someone, e.g.:
Perché ce l’hai con Mario, che cosa ti ha fatto? (why are you annoyed with Mario, what has he done?)
The second is mettercela tutta (to do one’s best or to put everything into an enterprise), e.g:
non so come è andato l’esame, ma ce l’ho messa tutta! (I don’t know how the exam went but I did my best!)
Spero che ce l’abbiate fatta a capire tutto.