The particle ci in Italian always cause troubles to foreign students, especially when it interacts with idioms! Therefore, in the following lesson we are going to explain the meaning and how to use the Italian idioms including CI!
The most common expressions including CI in Italian
In addition to the meaning of thinking of someone or something (“– Pensi mai al tuo ex? – Sì, ci penso spesso” → Do you ever think of your ex-boyfriend? – Yes, I often think of him), this verb means “solving a problem, finding a solution” and it’s used when there’s a difficulty, an obstacle and we a person who can and/or must solve it.
– Bisogna organizzare l’evento di questo sabato con gli investitori, ci pensi tu? [We must organize Saturday’s event with the investors! You got this, right?]
– D’accordo, ci penso io! Ma sappi che mi dovrai un favore! [Alright I got it! But you owe me a favor!]
You must not confuse it with the expression non pensarci proprio (not a chance!), which means “having no intention or not wanting to do that specific thing”.
– Potresti chiedere un favore al capo da parte mia? [Could you ask the boss for a favor for me?]
– Non ci penso proprio! [Not a chance!]
This verb is mainly used in exclamatory expressions, with the meaning of “taking a long time or much effort”.
– Quand’è il tuo compleanno? [When’s your birthday?]
– Eh tra 10 mesi! Ce ne vuole ancora! [Eh, it’s in ten months! It’s going to take long!]
– Organizzerò una festa in discoteca e tu e Riccardo siete invitati! Io ci verrò sicuramente, ma Riccardo non ama molto le discoteche: ce ne vorrà per convincerlo! [I’ll throw a disco party and you and Riccardo are invited! I’ll be there for sure, but Riccardo doesn’t like disco clubs very much: it will take some time to convince him]
This verb means “believing in someone or something”.
– Tu credi in Dio? [Do you believe in God?]
– Sì, ci credo! [Yes, I believe in Him!]
The expression E ci credo! (no surprise!) is used when we want to reply to someone who’s saying something that seems obvious to us as if to say that there are no doubts on what they’re saying.
– Ieri sono andato all’addio al celibato di Gianluca, e adesso ho un terribile mal di testa! [Yesterday I went to Gianluca’s bachelor party and now I have a terrible headache!]
– E ci credo! Avrai sicuramente bevuto moltissimo! [No surprise! You surely drank a lot!]
4) prenderCI gusto
This expressions indicates the repeating of an action that we previously considered to be boring, useless and even bothering, but over time it gives an increasing pleasure in doing it.
– Ehi, ma tu non odiavi lo yoga e adesso lo pratichi? [Hey, weren’t you the one who hated yoga and now you’re practicing it?]
– Sì, ma durante il mio viaggio in India ci ho preso gusto e ora non riesco a farne a meno! [Yes, but during my trip to India I got into it and now I can’t get enough of it!]
5) saperCI fare (con)
Questa espressione means “to be skilled, to be good, to be competent in their job or in any other activity”.
– Quell’uomo è stato ingiustamente accusato di furto… Per fortuna il suo avvocato ci sapeva fare e ha dimostrato la verità! [That guy was falsely accused of theft… Luckily his attorney was good and uncovered the truth!]
Saperci fare con qualcuno (to be able to deal with) means “being able to behave appropriately with a person or a category of people, mostly to realize their own goals”
– Luca è un vero Dongiovanni! Ci sa fare con le donne! [Luca is a real womanizer! He has a way with women!]
– Ma ci sa fare anche con i bambini, infatti i miei figli lo adorano e giocano sempre con lui! [But he knows how to handle children as well, in fact my children adore him and they always play with him!]
This form has several idiomatic meanings in addition to the original meaning “to be capable of being contained” (In questo stadio ci stanno 12000 spettatori) (“In this stadium can sit 12.000 spectators”), namely:
- starci (with things): it’s used in the third person singular (for singular objects) or plural (for plural objects), to indicate that “it’s ok, it’s perfect, it’s appropriate”.
– Ti va un pasticcino? [How about a cupcake?]
– Sì! Qualcosa di dolce ci sta proprio adesso, dopo ore di lavoro! [Yes! Something sweet is perfect after many hours of work!]
– Sto preparando un’insalata… Ci aggiungo anche delle noci? [I’m making a salad… Should I add some nuts?]
– Sì dai! Ci stanno! [Yes! they’re good in it!]
- starci (with people) has two different meanings:
- “to agree, to join, to partecipate” (to be in), usually used when a proposal is made.
- “showing that you’re available for an amorous approach”.
– Ragazzi, stasera tutti a casa mia per una grigliata! [Guys, come to my house tonight for a barbecue!]
– Figo! Ci stiamo!” [Cool! We’re in it!]
– Mi piace molto quella ragazza, ma non penso di essere il suo tipo! [I really like that girl, but I don’t think I’m her type!]
– Ho sentito che le piacciono i musicisti! Se le dici che suoni la batteria sicuramente ci sta!” [I heard she likes musicians! So if you go to her and you say you play drums, she’ll definitely be impressed!]
7) tenerCI (a)
This expression can have two forms:
- tenerci (a) caring about (something or someone): it means to love, to feel affection, to be bound to that thing or person.
- tenerci (a + verb) (really want to): it’s used to indicate that we strongly want something to happen (or not)
– Mi presteresti la tua macchina, per favore? [Would you lend me your car, please?]
– D’accordo ma non voglio nemmeno un graffio! È nuova e ci tengo tantissimo! [Alright, but I don’t want any scratch on it! It’s brand new and I like it a lot]
– Ci tengo a fare bella figura al colloquio di lavoro la prossima settimana.
8) non vederCI più dalla fame
This expression is used when we’re really hungry we start daydreaming about food.
– Cosa si mangia di buono oggi? Non ci vedo più dalla fame! [What are we eating today? I’m starving!]
The verb “mettercisi” means doing something earnestly and seriously, so much to reach a good result
– Il capo vuole che il progetto sia pronto per giovedì prossimo… Se ti ci metti, sono sicura che non lo deluderai! [The boss wants the project to be done by Thursday… If you really try I’m sure you won’t disappoint him]
This verb is used a lot in the expression Non ti ci mettere pure tu! (not you too!), when we are referring to someone who’s in front of us, when we’angry, because a series of bad things happened to us, ruining our day. With this expression we invite our interlocutor to not make the situation we’re in even worse with his behavior.
10) CI sentiamo! / CI vediamo!
When we talk to Italians, by phone, on Skype, by e-mail or on Whatsapp, it’s rather common to hear these two expressions at the end of a conversation.
- we’ll talk later: it’s used when we know we are going to talk to that person, sooner or later, but not visually.
- see you later: it indicates that you’re going to meet that person, sooner or later, whether by video or in person.
– Ciao, to ho chiamato per sapere come stai! Tutto bene? [Hi, I called you to know how you’re doing! How are you?]
– Si, tutto bene ma scusami, sono un po’ indaffarato ora, ci sentiamo dopo? [I’m fine but you have to excuse me I’m quite busy right now, can we talk later?]
– D’accordo! Ci sentiamo, ciao! [Alright! We’ll talk later, bye!]
– Domani verresti in spiaggia con me? [Do you think you’d like to join me at the beach tomorrow?]
– Certo! [Sure!]
– Perfetto, a domani allora! [Great, see you tomorrow then!]
– Sì, ci vediamo domani! [Yes, see you tomorrow]
Well, these are the most common idiomatic expressions with CI in Italian! Let us know if you know any others. If instead you stil have doubts on the meaning and the use of CI in Italian, we suggest you to take a look at our video devoted to this topic, or still if you want to know all other Italian idioms, there’s an entire playlist devoted to this topic, don’t miss it!
And don’t forget to read our wonderful book Italiano Colloquiale: Parole ed Espressioni per Tutti i Giorni.