Hello students from all over the world and welcome back! 🌍📚
In this article, we are going to try to understand together the meaning and usage of a small and pretty Italian word, consisting of only two letters but more awe-inspiring than "supercalifragilistichespiralidoso," yes, I am talking about "ne."
Let's start with the simple notions:
The difference between ne and nè.
Ne is a copulative conjunction with the meaning of "and not." It is usually used for the coordination of two or more negative propositions. Thus it is the opposite of "and".
An example of two sentences with the same meaning but one positive and the second negative will follow:
1. Marco went out to lunch and dinner this weekend. (Marco è andato a pranzo e a cena fuori questo fine settimana)
2. Marco went neither to lunch nor dinner out this weekend. (Marco non è andato a pranzo nè a cena fuori questo fine settimana.)
“nè” is also often repeated in the same sentence, at the beginning and end of the negation, to reinforce the concept, for example:
3. Marco went neither to lunch nor dinner out this weekend. (To exclude both options).
Let us now turn to the sore tooth:
The "ne" is a particle.
You need to know that ne is always used after specifying the thing or person, in short, the object of speech. Thus,
1) we use NE to replace:
OF / FROM + a thing or a person (mentioned above, as I mentioned).
The 4 Doble V to understand NE
In order to understand how and when to use NE and when not to, you can test it with 4 questions. If we can answer the following questions, we can accordingly use NE:
WHO? OF WHAT?
BY WHOM? BY WHAT?
- Have you met Alessio's new friend? What do you say?→ What do you say (about whom?) about Alessio's new friend/ about him.
- Yes, I met him and was impressed. → I am impressed (by whom?) by Alessio's new friend/ by him
(Hai conosciuto il nuovo amico di Alessio? Che ne dici?→ Che dici (di chi?) del nuovo amico di Alessio/ di lui
– Sì, l’ho conosciuto e ne sono rimasta impressionata. → Sono impressionata (da chi?) dal nuovo amico di Alessio/ da lui)
Are you in the mood for pizza? - Yes, I am in the mood for it. → I am in the mood (for what?) for pizza/for her.
(Hai voglia di pizza? – Sì, ne ho voglia. → Ho voglia (di che cosa?) di pizza / di lei)
- I went to the office at 8 a.m. and didn't come out until 8 p.m.! → I got out (of what?) the office.
(– Sono andata in ufficio alle 8 e ne sono uscita solo alle 20! → Sono uscita (da che cosa?) dall’ufficio)
As you can see, if the sentence is explicit (i.e., if we use the complement → of/by + thing or person), the complement should be put after the verb. If, on the other hand, we use NE, it always goes before the verb!
Then there is a second case,
NE is used to indicate part of a quantity
- How many books have you read? - I have read only two. → I read only two (of what?) books.
(– Quanti libri hai letto ? – Ne ho letti solo due. → Ho letto solo due (di che cosa?) di libri.)
- I bought seven sandwiches but ate only three. → I ate only three (of what?) of sandwiches.
(Ho comprato sette panini ma ne ho mangiati solo tre. → Ho mangiato solo tre (di che cosa?) di panini.)
In this case, namely, when NE indicates part of a quantity, we must tune the past participle to the gender and number of the noun it replaces.
- How many coffees have you had? I had only two. → -i (masculine plural, like "coffee")
Quanti caffè hai bevuto? Ne ho bevuti solo due. → -i (maschile plurale, come “caffè”)
But what if the quantity is 0?
Again we use NE, but the rule of tuning it, applies only to gender and not to I number (because precisely it is zero).
Ne as a replacement
Yes, just like this! Also, a whole sentence or several sentences concerning the same concept (always said, however, previously) can be replaced by NE.
Ex: We're going to the beach tomorrow, I'd rather leave early. What do you think? -> What do you think (of what?) about the fact that we could go to the beach and leave early
(Domani andiamo al mare, preferirei partire presto. Che ne pensi? —> Che pensi (di che cosa?) del fatto che potremmo andare al mare e partire presto).
In colloquial Italian, then…
Sometimes Italians use phrases such as that present both the explicit form and the "ne," "What do you think about eating together?" in these cases, the ne is “pleonastico” (i.e. unnecessary, superfluous) and is used only to give more emphasis to what comes next.
Some common saying
Finally, you should know that there are verbs and expressions that are formed with NE:
ANDARSENE (to leave, to depart from the place where one is)
NON POTERNE PIÙ (to be tired of something)
VALERNE LA PENA (something is worthy of one's efforts and commitment, deserves them)
As an exercise, you could try to form sentences with the above verbs, (this explains the reason for the lack of examples for these verbs containing "ne." :)
In some expressions, however, the use of NE does not follow any of these rules; simply, there are idioms that need to be memorized, here are a few, with which you can try to do the same exercise as before:
VOLERNE A QUALCUNO (being angry at someone)
FARNE DI TUTTI I COLORI (make a mess, trouble)
DIRNE DI TUTTI I COLORI (say many unpleasant things about someone)
NE + another pronoun
As you may have noticed with the verb "ANDARSENE," when NE is used with another pronoun, NE goes second. The other pronouns you put before NE, however, turn the -i into -e.
This happens with reflexive pronouns (as in the case of "leave"):
Mi + ne = me ne (Me ne vado)
Ti + ne = te ne (Te ne vai)
Si + ne = se ne (Se ne va)
Ci + ne = ce ne (Ce ne andiamo)
Vi + ne = ve ne (Ve ne andate)
Si + ne = se ne (Se ne vanno)
And the same thing applies to indirect pronouns (me = mi, a te = ti...)
Mi + ne = me ne (Me ne dai)
Ti + ne = te ne (Te ne do)
Gli / le + ne = gliene (Gliene do)
(they become one word, the same for both masculine and feminine)
Ci + ne = ce ne (Ce ne dà)
Vi + ne = ve ne (Ve ne diamo)
Loro + ne = ne … loro (Ne do loro) ("they" remains after the verb)
I hope I have helped you this time as well.
Thanks for your attention, talk to you soon.