The partitive, 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 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. –“He wanted to speak of it.”
(amici) Ne ho tre. –“I have three of them.”
NOTE: The past participle agrees with ne, that is, with the noun which ne replaces. Translate the two expressions below.
Avete ricevuto delle lettere?
Ne ho ricevute due.
| *lungo (pl., lunghi, -e)
to go back
affair, matter, business
are silent, are still (3d. pl. pres., tacere)