The partitive — that is, the idea of “some” or “any” — may be either implied in Italian (as in English), or expressed in the following ways.
Before a noun, “some” or “any” is frequently expressed by di plus the definite article.
Compro del pane. – I am buying (some) bread.
“Some” or “any” may also be expressed before a noun by qualche or alcuno. These two words, though, have the restrictive idea of “a few.”
Ho qualche amico. – I have some (a few) friends.
Ho qualche lira. – I have a few lire.
Carlo è con alcuni amici. – Charles is with some friends.
REMEMBER: Qualche is invariable (it does not change to agree in gender and number) and is always followed by a singular noun.
As a pronoun, “some” or “any” is expressed by ne. Ne may also mean “of it,” “of them,” “from it,” “from them,” etc. It is equivalent to the preposition di and a following noun and may therefore be translated in numerous ways. Its position in the sentence is the same as that of the personal pronouns; that is, it precedes the conjugated verb or is attached to the end of the infinitive minus its final –e.
[pane] Ne abbiamo. – We have some.
Non ne abbiamo. – We haven’t any.
Voleva parlarne. – S/he wanted to speak about it / of it.
[amici] Ne ho tre. – I have three [of them].
NOTE: Ne is required in Italian even when it is implied (and thus omitted) in English.
NOTE: The past participle agrees with ne, that is, with the noun which ne replaces.
Avete ricevuto delle lettere? —Ne ho ricevute due. – Did you receive any letters? —I received two [of them].
|lungo (pl., lunghi, -e)
to gladden, to cheer up
to go back
affair, matter, business
are silent, are still (3d. pl. pres., tacere)