We've learned about the reflexive pronouns ci and vi, and the partitive pronoun ne, but the Italian pronouns ci, vi, and ne all have secret powers that other pronouns don't have. Can you guess what it is?
The secret is, they all have the ability to double as adverbs!
In much the same way that ne works to back-reference things in its role as a partitive pronoun, ci, vi, and ne can be used as adverbs to back-reference a preposition.
In this usage, the words ci, vi, and ne work like the English prepositions to here, to there, and from here (respectively). Vi is very rarely used in this manner, however. Ci is favored.
For example, in the sentence "Sono andato a Parma la settimana scorsa," the preposition a Parma could be replaced with ci to say, "Ci sono andato la settimana scorsa." In this case, ci replaces a Parma.
This also help to explain the constructions c'è and ci sono, which mean there is and there are. For example, "C'è un bicchiere di vino sul tavolo."
In most cases for to here and to there, you will use ci, as vi is rarely used. (I was unable to find any examples of vi used in this way, but I find it listed among explanations, so I gather that the important thing is to recognize it when you see it.) And for the phrase from here and from there, you will use ne.
For example, in the sentence, "Torno del lavoro alle 5,", the preposition dal lavoro can be replaced by ne to say, "Ne torno alle 5."
Finally, I found a couple of idiomatic phrases which use ci and ne - farcela, andarsene, and poterne.
-Ce l'ho fatta!
-I did it!
-Non ce la faccio.
-I'm not doing it.
-Me ne vado!
-I'm out of here!
-Non ne posso più!
-I can't take any more!
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