The particle CI gives many problems to those studying Italian, we know that. In this lesson, we will discover how the particle CI, when added to certain verbs, creates new ones with completely different meanings!
How the CI particle changes the meaning of a verb entirely
Before continuing, make sure you are familiar with the Italian particles CI and NE.
If, on the other hand, you master them, you can continue reading!
In Italian, there are some verbs that change their meaning completely when the particle CI is added to them.
Here are some examples:
1. CASCARE – CASCARCI
CASCARE: To fall (colloquial tone).
CASCARCI: To be caught in a snare or a joke, to be tricked or misled.
Mi ha detto che era cascata dalle scale e che stava male, così sono corsa da lei. Invece voleva solo chiedermi un parere su cosa indossare alla festa… E io che ci sono anche cascata! [She told me she had fallen from the stairs and was sick, so I rushed to her. But in truth she only wanted to ask me for advice about what to wear to the party.. I was tricked by her!]
2. METTERE – METTERCI
METTERE: To put something in a place.
METTERCI: To spend a certain amount of time to do something.
Ma quanto tempo ci metti a mettere la frutta nel frigo? Sbrigati: ci sono ancora tante altre cose da fare! [How long does it take you to put the fruit in the fridge? Hurry up: there are still so many things to do!]
3. PROVARE – PROVARCI
1 – To test something in order to get to know its quality or features, or to check if it works.
2 – To try to do something without knowing if its result will be positive or negative
3 – To wear a dress to see how it looks like.
PROVARCI: To try to flirt with someone.
Ha provato (2) a imparare il portoghese ma ci ha rinunciato dopo due mesi, ha cominciato a seguire un corso di cucina ma dopo aver provato (1) il suo primo piatto ha capito che non era la strada giusta, allora ha capito che è bravo solo a fare due cose: fare shopping senza provare (3) i capi in camerino e provarci con tutte le ragazze che incontra! [He tried to learn Portuguese but gave up after two months. He began to attend cooking lessons, but after tasting his first dish he understood it wasn’t the right path and realized that he’s good only at two things: go shopping without actually trying anything on and flirting with all the girls he meets!]
4. VOLERE – VOLERCI
VOLERE: To want something firmly.
VOLERCI: To be necessary.
Voglio una lasagna, ma ci vuole troppo tempo per prepararla, perciò la ordinerò a domicilio da un ristorante. [I want lasagna, but it takes too much time to prepare it. I will therefore have it delivered here from a restaurant.]
5. FARE – FARCI
FARE: To do, to carry out something.
FARCI: To pretend not to understand. It is mainly used in the Italian expression “Ma ci sei o ci fai?”
Ma ci sei o ci fai? Ti ho detto di fare la valigia ieri e ancora non l’hai fatta… Mi prendi in giro? [Are you stupid for real or just pretending to be? I told you to pack the luggage and you still haven’t… Are you kidding me?]
6. STARE – STARCI
STARE: To stay, to be in a certain surrounding, place or situation.
1 – To be contained, to fit, to find a seat.
2 – To agree, to participate, to support.
3 – To be willing to have sexual relationships (colloquial).
Andremo in montagna e staremo in uno chalet per tutto il fine settimana. Siamo in sette e forse sette persone non ci stanno (1) nello chalet, ma proveremo a farlo funzionare. Ci stai? (2) Ti piace il piano? Se poi durante la lezione di sci incontri qualcuna che ci sta (3), potresti anche trovare una fidanzata! Che te ne pare? [We’re going to the mountain and staying in a chalet for the whole weekend. We’re seven, maybe too much for a chalet but we’ll cope with it. Are you in? Do you like the plan? If you meet someone who’s interested during the skiing lesson, you may also find a girlfriend! How does that sound to you?]
7. PRENDERE – PRENDERCI
PRENDERE: To take, to grab with your hands.
PRENDERCI: To realize the truth, to understand what is right to say or to do.
Hai preso i documenti che dobbiamo consegnare a Sara? A proposito di Sara! Mesi fa dicevo che si stava frequentando con Giorgio e nessuno mi credeva… Invece ci avevo preso! Si sposeranno tra un anno! [Have you got the documents that we have to hand to Sarah? Speaking of Sara! A few months ago I told she was dating Giorgio and no one believed me.. It turns out that I was right! They’re getting married in one year!]
8. ENTRARE – ENTRARCI
ENTRARE: To get inside a place from outside, to enter.
1 – To have enough room to fit in.
2 – To have relevance, connection with something.
Una volta che sarete entrati nell’edificio, dovrete prendere l’ascensore e salire al quinto piano. Probabilmente non ci entrerete (1) tutti in un unico ascensore, quindi ne dovrete usare due. E ricordate di rimandare tutto quello che non c’entra (2) niente con la missione a quando sarà finita! [Once you have entered the building, you will need to take the elevator and go up to the fifth floor. You probably won’t all fit into a single elevator, so you’ll have to use two. And remember to postpone everything that has nothing to do with the mission until it’s over!]
9. ARRIVARE – ARRIVARCI
ARRIVARE: To get to a place at the end of an itinerary, a route or a trip.
ARRIVARCI: To understand, to get something.
Non avevo capito la sua battuta al primo colpo… Ci sono arrivata solo in un secondo momento, ma ormai era troppo tardi perché lui se n’era già andato ed era già arrivato a casa sua! [I didn’t understand his joke at first… I got it only later, but by then it was too late because he had already left and had already arrived at his house!]
10. SCAPPARE – SCAPPARCI
SCAPPARE: To get away (fast) from a place in which you are locked up or forced to stay, to escape.
SCAPPARCI: To happen unexpectedly, mostly with reference to something negative.
Fortunatamente tutte le persone che erano in ostaggio sono riuscite a scappare e a mettersi in salvo. Purtroppo, però, ci è scappato un morto: era un poliziotto accorso sul posto per aiutarli. [Fortunately, all the people who were hostages managed to escape and get to safety. Unfortunately, though, there was one casualty: it was a police officer who had rushed to the scene to help them.]
If you enjoyed the article and if you want to learn more about this peculiar particle, you may also want to have a look at this lesson showing various Italian expressions with the CI particle.
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