Using ‘Ci’ – The Answers Posted by on Nov 2, 2012 in Grammar

Here are the answers to our grammar quiz on ‘ci’. Remember that there is often more than one way to translate a sentence. The important thing however is a correct understanding of the usage of ‘ci’.

A. Ci is commonly used as un avverbio (an adverb) with the meaning of ‘here’ or ‘there’, e.g. finalmente ci siamo (here we are at last), non c’è molto pane (there isn’t much bread), etc.

1. Was Giovanni at the party last night? … no he wasn’t there – C’era Giovanni alla festa ieri sera? … no, non c’era

2. Are there any eggs in the fridge? – Ci sono delle uova in frigo?

3. Have you ever been to Milano? … no I’ve never been there – Sei mai stato/a a Milano? … no, non ci sono mai stato/a

4. When do you think you’ll go there? – Quando pensi di andarci?

5. Once, there was a lovely garden here – Qui, una volta, c’era un bel giardino

6. How long have you lived here? – Da quanto tempo ci abiti?

7. There’s a wasp in the house – C’è una vespa in casa

8. We went there last week – Ci siamo andati la settimana scorsa

9. I’m going to the bar, are you coming there as well? – Vado al bar, ci vieni anche tu?

B. Volerci = it requires, it needs e.g. per fare un tavolo ci vuole il legno (making a table requires wood, or to make a table you need wood)

1. You don’t need much strength to do that job – Non ci vuole molta forza per fare quel lavoro

2. You need two eggs to make that cake – Ci vogliono due uova per fare quella torta

3. How long does it take to get to Foggia? – Quanto tempo ci vuole per arrivare a Foggia?

4. It needs a bit of salt – Ci vuole un po’ di sale

C. Metterci = it takes, e.g. il treno per Milano ci mette due ore (the train to Milano takes two hours)

1. How long did you take to finish that book? – Quanto (tempo) ci hai messo per finire quel libro? N.B. It’s not obligatory to use the word tempo because it’s implied by the construction

2. The ferry to Sardegna took three hours – Il traghetto per la Sardegna ci ha messo tre ore

3. It took us two days to decorate the living room – ci abbiamo messo due giorni per decorare il soggiorno

4. But it took us another four days to assemble the Ikea bookcase – Però, ci abbiamo messo altri quattro giorni per montare la libreria di Ikea Open-mouthed smile

D. Pensarci = to take care of something, e.g. non ti preoccupare, ci penso io! (don’t worry, I’ll take care of it)

1. Marco said that he’d taken care of it – Marco ha detto che ci aveva pensato lui. (or: Marco ha detto di averci pensato lui)

2. I’ll bring some pizza and you take care of the drinks – Io porto della pizza e alle bibite ci pensi tu (or: … e ci pensi tu alle bibite)

E. Crederci = to believe in something, e.g. Giovanni: ci credi nei fantasmi? Anna: No, non ci credo (Giovanni: do you believe in ghosts? Anna: No, I don’t believe in them)

1. Luca and Elisa have finally got married? I don’t believe it!  – Luca ed Elisa si sono sposati finalmente? non ci credo!

2. Can you believe that Berlusconi wants to be President of the Republic? Incredible! – Ci credi che Berlusconi vuole diventare Presidente della Repubblica? Incredibile! (yes, scary but true!)

F. Provarci = to have a go at something, e.g. Giovanni: hai mai sciato? Anna: No, mai. Giovanni: Dai, provaci! (Giovanni: Have you ever skied? Anna: No, never. Giovanni: Come on, have a go at it!)

1. I don’t know if I’ll be able to fix it but I’ll have a go. – Non so se lo posso aggiustare ma ci proverò

2. Have you seen this great quiz about ci? come on, let’s have a go at it! – Hai visto questo bel quiz su ‘ci’? dai, proviamoci!

So, how did you get on? If you have any queries feel free to leave a comment.

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  1. Lynne:

    Thought I was the only one having trouble with “ci” — but you hit the nail on the head. IT is “dreaded” !

    Can you possibly Email me your previous article on it, as I came across you website for the first time only a few minutes ago.

    Beyond appreciatively —


    • Geoff:

      @Lynne Salve Lynne, I’ve e-mailed you a link to the original article about ‘ci’.

      A presto, Geoff

  2. Lynne:

    Is there actually a connection between “c’e” and “ci” ? My understanding is that “c’e” means ‘there is’ or ‘there are’ (as “hay” in Spanish). But “ci” is nothing like that (to me, at least).

    • Geoff:

      @Lynne Salve Lynne,

      The connection between ‘ci’ and c’è is this:

      One of the main meanings of ‘ci’ is ‘there’. So if I want to say ‘there are’ it is ‘ci sono’. However, if I want to say ‘there is’ I need to avoid putting the two vowels i and è together. Therefore instead of saying ci è the ci becomes abbreviated to c’ (there), plus è (is), to make c’è.

      In brief, c’ is an abbreviation of ci, a bit like writing ‘there’s’ instead of ‘there is’ in English.

      Here are a couple of examples:
      ci sono due mele (there are two apples)
      c’è una mela (there is an apple/there’s an apple)
      c’erano cinque mele (there were five apples)

      I hope that helps. If not let me know.

      Saluti da Geoff

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