The versatile Italian word “NE” – PODCAST

We can use the Italian word NE to express different concepts.

The Italian word NE is a “quasi-pronoun”. In fact, NE is more than a simple pronoun and has three main functions. Let’s see them one by one and listen to the podcast.

1. NE as “partitivo”

  • Hai comprato il pane?

  • Sì, l’ho comprato.

  • Quanto NE hai comprato?

  • Ne ho comprato un chilo.

In the first answer, we use an object pronoun. Did you buy bread? Yes I bought IT, – LO ho  (l’ho) comprato. Then she wants to know how much bread. I bought one kilogram (of it) = NE

NE helps to identify the number of objects or the proportion of a part related to a whole. The use of NE always depends on nouns or adjectives defining a quantity, such as:

  • Un paio, un centinaio, una decina…

  • Nouns describing a number a part a portion: dieci, metà, un quarto, un pezzo…

  • Indefinite pronouns: qualche, tutto, niente, molti, parecchi, nessuno …

OTHER EXAMPLES

  • Quanti figli hai? – Ne ho due.

  • Ci sono tante zanzare? – Stasera non ce ne sono.

  • Hai dei biglietti della lotteria? – Ne ho comprati tre.

  • Avete dei francobolli? – Sì, quanti ne vuole?

  • Quanti anni ha tua nonna? – Ne ha novanta!

  • Vuoi un caffè? – No, ne ho già bevuti tre.

  • Quanti soldi ti servono? – Me ne servono molti.

  • Vuoi un panino? – Ne voglio solo metà.

2. NE as “motion from a place”

  • A che ora sei andato in ufficio? – Ci sono andato alle otto.

  • A che ora sei uscito? – Ne sono uscito alle 5 di sera.

This use of NE (example B) is related to its Latin origin INDE, similar to the English Thence, “from there”, NE = da lì. It’s possible but rather unusual in spoken Italian. It is instead of common use when NE reinforces idioms. For example: ANDARSENESono stanco, me ne vado – I’m tired, I hit the road (lit. I get myself away from here).

3. NE as “specification”

  • Avete parlato di calcio? – Sì, ne abbiamo parlato.

  • Sai qualcosa di Claudio? – Non ne so niente.

When we talk / think / about something or someone (using the preposition DI = of/about/’s) we can use NE as a pronoun. In other words, NE is the equivalent of “of/about it”.

So, the example A goes: Did you talk about football? – Yes, we talked about it.

Do you know anything about Claudio? – I know nothing about him.

That’s all, è tutto. Thanks for reading and listening. A presto!

Photo of author
Riccardo
Milanese, graduated in Italian literature a long time ago, I began teaching Italian online in Japan back in 2003. I usually spend winter in Tokyo and go back to Italy when the cherry blossoms shed their petals. I do not use social media.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

3 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Vicki
Vicki
7 years ago

molto utile e molto chiaro, grazie milee!

Marisa
7 years ago

And to think I was using “ne” and believing I was speaking incorrectly and dialectally, Well I spoke Italian in the home but never knew all the grammatical ins and outs of it. Love your lessons Riccardo and I am still going to finish those lessons. Buon fine settimana

Don`t copy text!