CI vs NE: the Particles of the Italian Languange!

CI or NE? This is quite a dilemma for foreigners studying Italian! What are these two particles for? What do they express? How are they used? How do I know when I should use one or the other? You are about to find out in this article! And I will try to make the explanation clear and short. Let’s go!

When to use CI or NE in 10 minutes

You don’t know how to use the pronominal particles CI and NE in Italian? Don’t worry! Below, through some examples, I will explain you what they are for, how they are used and what they express so that you learn to use them correctly.

What are they for?

Their main function is to replace words or whole parts of a sentence, thus avoiding unnecessary repetitions.

How are they used?

They are usually placed before the verb, except if this is in the infinitive, gerund or participle (in this case, they must be placed after, forming a single word).

What do they express?

These two pronominal particles can express different things and can take on various functions and meanings!

Let’s look at NE first and then let’s move on to CI!

  • NE with partitive function: indicates a part of a quantity, or no quantity. It replaces “of something”. In this case, it is always followed by a number or any expression indicating quantity.


Prendo cinque cioccolatini. = Ne prendo cinque. [I’ll take five chocolates. = I’ll take five of them.]

Assaggia un po’ di torta! = Assaggiane un po’! [Taste some cake! = Taste some of it!]

Mancano molti documenti.  = Ne mancano molti. [A lot of documents are missing. = A lot of them are missing.]

Non voglio del miele. = Non ne voglio. [I don’t want honey. = I don’t want any of it.]

Luca ha 5 fratelli ma io non ne ho nessuno. [Luca has 5 brothers but I don’t have any of them.]


In this case, if NE is used with a past participle (therefore with compound tenses), the past participle need to agree in gender and number with the noun replaced by NE.


Quante valigie hai portato? Ne ho portata una sola. (valigia = feminine singular) [How many suitecases have you brought? I’ve only brought one of them.]

Quanti gelati hai mangiato? Ne ho mangiati tre. (gelati = masculine plural) [How many ice-creams did you eat? I ate three of them.]

Ho molti amici ma oggi non ne ho invitato nessuno. [with “quantity zero” it only agrees in gender but not in number] [I have many friends but I didn’t invite any of them today.]

  • NE replaces OF someone / OF something

Se hai mangiato i biscotti, dimmi che pensi dei biscotti. = Se hai mangiato i biscotti, dimmi che ne pensi. [If you ate the cookies, tell me what you think about the cookies. = If you ate the cookies, tell me what you think of them.]

Ho guardato il film horror ma non ho avuto paura del film horror. = Ho guardato il film horror ma non ne ho avuto paura. [I watched the horror movie but I didn’t get scared of the horror movie. = I watched the horror movie but I didn’t get scared of it.]

Dopo aver licenziato Lucrezia, il suo capo si è reso conto di aver bisogno di Lucrezia. = Dopo aver licenziato Lucrezia, il suo capo si è reso conto di averne bisogno. [After firing Lucrezia, her boss realized that he needed Lucrezia. After firing Lucrezia, her boss realized that he needed her.]

  • NE replaces FROM someone / FROM something

So che è una situazione difficile, ma sono certa che riuscirai a uscire da questa situazione difficile. = So che è una situazione difficile, ma sono certa che riuscirai a uscirne. [I know it’s a difficult situation, but I’m sure you will be able to get out of this difficult situation. = I know it’s a difficult situation, but I’m sure you will be able to get out of it.]

Appena ha conosciuto Stefania, è rimasto affascinato da Stefania. = Appena ha conosciuto Stefania, ne è rimasto affascinato. [As soon as he met Stefania, he was fascinated by Stefania. = As soon as he met Stefania, he was fascinated by her.]

On the other hand…

  • CI is a reflexive pronoun (for first person plural: ourselves)

Quando siamo in vacanza, ci svegliamo sempre molto tardi. [When we are on vacation, we always wake up very late.]

Non ci vediamo da molto tempo, ma ci incontreremo di nuovo dopodomani. [We haven’t seen each other for a long time, but we will meet again the day after tomorrow.]

  • CI is a direct or indirect personal pronoun (that replaces us or to us)

Paolo ha accompagnato me e mia sorella [noi] all’aeroporto. = Paolo ci ha accompagnato all’aeroporto. [Paolo took me and my sister [us] to the airport. = Paolo took us to the airport.]

Mia nonna ha sempre dato buoni consigli a me e ai miei cugini [a noi]. = Mia nonna ci ha sempre dato buoni consigli. [My grandmother always gave me and my cousins [to us] good advice. = My grandmother always gave us good advice.]

  • CI refers to a place (it replaces “here”, “there”, “in this place”, “in that place”…)

Vado a Torino domani. = Ci vado domani. [I’m going to Turin tomorrow. = I’m going there tomorrow.]

Non stiamo mai in casa il sabato sera. = Non ci stiamo mai il sabato sera. [We never stay home on Saturday nights. = We never stay here on Saturday nights.]

Con chi sei andato alle Hawaii l’anno scorso? = Con chi ci sei andato? [Who did you go to Hawaii with last year? = Who did you go in that place with last year?]

  • CI replaces TO something

Hai pensato a un piano? = Ci hai pensato? [Have you ever thought of a plan? = Have you ever thought of it?]

Non fare caso alle sue parole! = Non farci caso! [Don’t pay attention to his words! = Don’t pay attention to them!]

Prova a cucinare il pollo. = Ci prova. [He’s trying to cook chicken. = He’s trying to do it.]

  • CI replaces IN someone / IN something

Non crede in Dio? = Non ci crede. [Does she not believe in God? = She doesn’t.]

Lea è cascata nello scherzo. = Lea ci è cascata. [Lea bought the joke. She bought it.]

  • CI replaces WITH someone / WITH something

Parlo sempre con mia sorella. = Ci parlo sempre. [I always talk with my sister. = I always talk with her.]

Non giocavo spesso con le bambole. = Non ci giocavo spesso. [I didn’t use to play with dolls often. = I didn’t use to play with them often.]

  • CI replaces ON someone / ON something

Scommetto 10 euro su questo fatto. = Ci scommetto 10 euro. [I bet 10 euros on this fact. = I bet 10 euros on it.]

Possiamo contare su di lui. = Possiamo contarci. [We can count on him. = We can count on.]

  • CI is a pronominal particle joined to some verbs to form others with a different meaning (pronominal verbs). It can be added alone or with another pronoun as well. Examples: metterci, esserci, volerci, farcela, avercela, vederci… In this case, it doesn’t replace anything.

Per andare da Roma a Milano in treno ci vogliono 4 ore. [It takes 4 hours to go from Rome to Milan by train.]

Non ci vedo più dalla fame! [I can’t see anymore from hunger!]

L’hai offesa così tanto che ce l’ha ancora con te! [You offended her so much that she still mad at you!]

Non ce la faccio più! [I can’t do it anymore!]

Sul tavolo della cucina ci sono 10 piatti. [There are 10 dishes on the kitchen table.]

If you want to learn more about this topic, I suggest you take a look at the lessons on the CI particle and on the NE particle in which I explain specifically how and when to use these particles in Italian! If, instead, you are looking for a short and clear explanation on compound pronouns, so when to use direct and indirect pronouns together, don’t forget to watch the lesson on combined pronouns in Italian.

We also highly reccomend taking a look at our latest book: Parolacce… e come evitarle! (you won’t regret it: it’s a unique piece!).

Leave a Reply