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  5. "Non ci avevo pensato."

"Non ci avevo pensato."

Translation:I had not thought about it.

November 16, 2013



how can you know that it is not: I had not thought about us? is there a different way of saying this. Or should it be from context and so both translations are correct? Does anyone know, i had this problem already in many translations, so I assume that my translation is somehow not correct.


In this case, "ci" can't mean "about us". I think it's because it sounds weird to imagine that I should (or should not) think about me and someone else with me. It would be some kind of weird reflexive (and consider that reflexive use the auxiliary essere). Same thing is "(noi) non ci avevamo pensato"; the correct reflexive would be "noi non ci siamo pensati".

Let's try to think something similar in second person:

  • "(tu) non vi avevi pensato" WRONG!
  • "(voi) non vi avevate pensato" WRONG!

These are incorrect for the same reason.

By the way, consider the following example:

  • "(tu) non ci avevi pensato"

This could have a double meaning. In this case, it could mean "you had not thought about it" or "you had not thought about us", since it's not a reflexive action.


Sorry, but I don't think it is weird to think or difficult to imagine thinking "about us". Says the man to his wife, after having spent the evening with his friends at the pub: "Sorry, love, I hadn't thought about us" :-) Also, I don't think "about us" would imply some kind of reflexive, needing essere. A literal translation of "pensarci" could be "to think by oneself/ourselves", but imho not "to think about me/us". Quite a riddle, this sentence.


It's not a riddle. There is a lot of misinformation in this discussion, including your comment. While I agree that it is entirely possible for me to think about us, "pensarci", the dictionary form (as opposed to "pensarsi" conjugated in the first person plural), means to think of/about it. In this case, the sentence in question is ambiguous. The two possible meanings are "I had not thought about it" and "I had not thought about us."


Small clarification: "pensarsi" conjugated in first person plural is "ci pensiamo"


Thanks, that is really helpful. I always keep forgetting to use essere with reflexive but your answer opened up two more questions for me (I'm sorry):

  • is a verb still reflexively used if it is I who thinks about us? Before I always thought that it is only if the subject and object are the same (i.e. i to me or we to us, not crossing).

  • I was thinking about the case of 'i haven't thought about us' where us means 'us as a couple'. so in order to say this, I should say 'non ci sono pensato'?


You can use the reflexive only if the subject is exactly the same. If I think about us, it sounds like a reflexive action, but you can't use the reflexive in Italian. You should say:

  • "Non ho pensato a noi"

both if you are considering us as a group or as a couple.


That's the way reverso.net translated it, except it was "avevo" instead of "ho". for "I had not thought about us.".

Still, I don't understand why "Non ci avevo pensato" can't be "about us". It's not reflexive because the subject and object aren't the same, but "ci" can still mean "it/us" - unless the Italian defaults to "it" in this usage, and you have to use "a noi" to make it "to us".

Which raises a related question: In Spanish, where the preceding object-pronoun is ambiguous, you add a seemingly redundant "a [pronoun]" at the end to clarify the sentence. In Italian, the equivalent would be: "Non ci avevo pensato a noi". Do native-speakers regard this as redundant?


Yes, in Italian the usage of a clitic (like "ci") along with the correspondent full form ("a noi") is not allowed; such a redundancy is considered a mistake. The same happens with the verb "piacere", where "a noi ci piace" is a mistake (you can either say "a noi piace" or "ci piace").


ok, now it's fully clear. Thanks again!


@Itastudent: (Still trying to understand). If, following your example, "Non ci avevi pensato" can mean both "You had not thought about it" and "... about us", why wouldn't the same apply (but in first person singular) to "Non ci avevo pensato" ?


your example "tu non ci avevi pensato" could be made in third person also. but you prove the point since "I had not thought about us" is also not a reflexive action. the subject and object are different, even if "I" am an integral part of "us". "I" am not "us". still, I accept that it may not be used (ci=us) in this sentence, but it wouldn't be because it violated a rule. it would have to be a violation of custom.
I have tried several mechanical translators (I know that I shouldn't trust them) and they all choose "about it". none chose us.


PATRICKKPIZ1: I agree, though not because it's a 'violation of custom' but because it's a violation of grammar and verb definition. Pensarci means to think about something, to think about it. It's really no more complicated than that. Ci penso io! e.g. means I'll take care of it, in the sense of I'll think of it.


Germanlehrerlsu: it wouldn't violate grammar as itastudent argues near the top for a second person speaker. "tu non ci avevi pensato." if that is true then first person can't violate grammar either. it can only be custom because of custom. here is an example that duo uses. "lei ti pensava ogni giorno" (she was thinking about you every day). if you can say that, you can say "lei ci pensava ogni giorno" (meaning us) and if you can say that, you can say "io ci pensavo ogni giorno" unless custom would be violated because the grammar wouldn't be violated. pensare with ci isn't always pensarci. it's only pensarci when you are saying something like "i'll take care of it" or i'll look into it." or "i'll think about it" in the sense of how i'll accomplish it. the clitic "ci" is used in lots of ways. thanks for the discussion. you're comments always make me think twice. do you teach at lsu?

  • 1436

Grammar is just fitting custom into a pattern, so custom overrides the rules. that is why we have exceptions.

[deactivated user]

    Note that, in the same lesson there's another statement
    "Gli animali ci avevano seguiti"
    and the translation showed
    "The animals had followed us".

    So ci meaning "us" can be used with avere.


    You may be assuming context which is not in the sentence provided. I think this can just as well mean "I had not thought of us.".


    You can assume whatever kind of context you may like, but "non ci avevo pensato" can't mean "I had not thought of us" in any circumstance. If you would like to say "I had not thought of us", you should say "non avevo pensato a noi" (I explained the reasons for this in my messages above). :)


    Yes, I had read your explanation, and another below, before writing. I agree with your usage of "a noi". I simply disagree that the other is not common usage. But I'll move on now.


    This comment is BS. What are you talking about? I can definitely think about a two-or-more person group that includes myself. Also, there is also no reason to bring up reflexives, since the subject and the objects are not the same. I don't see any merit in your comment.


    @itastudent, you're trying hard but you're missing the essential point, that "ci" is the direct object of the verb. This is not reflexive, correct, but neither is it intransitive; "pensare" has the sense of "think" (something) rather than its intransitive usage of "think about" (something). If we want to think about it, we say "Non NE avevo pensato."

    You are right to suggest "pensare a noi" as a better version of "think about us."


    I'm not trying to persuade anyone... :P I'm trying to explain how things are. Then, if you don't believe me, you are free to talk/write the way you prefer or to say "non ne avevo pensato", which doesn't sound correct in Italian.

    Unfortunately, I know that clitics like "ci" and "ne" are pretty tough... :(


    In this case, "ci" means "there." It's the same "ci" that's used in "c'รจ" or "ci sono." Pensare uses "a" as a preposition, so it's kind of like saying "penso a quello" but simplified


    Where the hell is......this....in this sentence. Ci seems to mean everything from it to them to us to we


    I also learned that "ne" can mean "of it". So is it possible that this Italian sentence could be "Non ne avevo pensato" ?


    That's exactly the sentence that Duo is translating. "Ci" is the direct object of the verb, so we have here the transitive usage of "pensare" = "to think," not the intransitive "to think of/about." The translation should be "I had not thought that" = "I had not had that opinion."


    Is this an example of a "verbo pronominale" ie pensarci? To mean to think about it. Like esserci =to be there


    Why not "I had not thought it" ?


    I put this late nov 14 and was marked down - am reporting


    Indeed, why not? And if not, how would you translate this sentence into Italian?


    So when you have 'ci' and 'pensare' in the sentence it always mean 'thinking about it' and not 'thinking about us' ?


    Could 'lo' also be used? "Non l'avevo pensato"???


    My very question. Can someone please let us know?


    Why can't it mean either "I didn't think about us" or "I didn't think about it" depending on circumstances? I think that one of those situations where both answers could be correct.


    the troupe with DL is that we are given "sentence fragments and it's possible that the FULL sentence might be,"I had not thought about us since our broken engagement" - an example that comes to mind I had not thought about us in a long time. Lots of examples if you think about it.


    I wrote: "I had not thought of them" Still don't understand why that's not the translation


    Sometimes when learning a new language we just have to accept that a phrase does not have a direct equivalent in our own language. It means something because it does. I am not advertising here but I find Collins Easy Learning Italian Grammar very useful. In the Kindle edition there is an enlightening section on 'ne' and 'ci' at location 2663. Hope this helps.


    Elisa, can you explain?


    I have to agree with FelixDL. If you can't use "ci" as "us" here how could you express the the idea that you hadn't thought about our relationship, or "us" as a couple. Is there actual grammatical or semantic reason in Italian why "ci" cannot mean"us" here?


    PTony: I don't see FelixDL's post, but I think it would be: Non avevo pensato di noi.


    This sentence tripped me up plain and simple...ugh!


    Is "I had not thought it" also correct?


    barbaraG...I feel it is. "I had not thought about it/...of it/...it" I think are all pretty synonymous, depending on the context. Someone might argue otherwise, but a lot depends on the specific situation.


    My answer was corrected as 'I had not thought of that' which is different to the translation on this discussion page. I have read the comments but still have no idea where 'that' slots into the Italian sentence.


    Val, the "that" is expressed by "ci" here. It's the same "ci" meaning "that" as found e.g. in the very common expression "Ci penso io!" meaning "I'll take care of that."


    Germanlehrerlsu - Many thanks for the explanation and will now remember the phrase "Ci penso io!" for future use.


    Val. Ci mancherebbe! Another use of 'ci' ! I learned when in Italy some years ago that it means, "you're very/most welcome" in the sense of "don't mention it" in English.


    Hi G, I do hope you are well. As a result of revisiting this thread, which is full of stimulating thoughts and opinions, I found this to add for our enlightenment. Stay safe and well. https://www.thelocal.it/20190111/italian-expression-of-the-day-ci-mancherebbe


    Germanlehrerlsu - Thank you once more - a very good phrase to remember.


    Ok.... very confused here now! I can understand why this sentence means " I had not thought about that"... but how would I then say.... I had not thought of us? Non ci ero pensati. OR Non avevo pensato a noi? The reflexive "pensarsi" is what is confusing me now.


    so why not Non l'avevo pensato


    'to think about something' is 'pensare a' (sto pensando alla vacanza). 'ci' replaces a phrase that begins with the preposition 'a'. (alla vacanza). here are some verbs with prepisitions; one list is about verbs with 'a'. the clitic 'ci' would replace the 'a' phrase when they are used. https://www.thoughtco.com/italian-verbs-and-prepositions-2011671

    'ne' on the other hand is used for verbs that are followed by 'di' + a noun or phrase, and also means 'about it/her/him/them' or 'of it'. some of those verbs are listed also.

    'ci' and 'ne' have other uses also.


    KathyFitzg1: I think that'd be ok if the pronoun (l') is referring back to a specific noun. If you're making a general statement though I believe "ci" has to be used. E.g I'll take care of it -- in the sense of -- I'll think of it > Ci penso io!

    • 1022

    So " I had not thought it" would be "non l'avevo pensato" and " I had not thought about it" is " non ci avevo pensato"


    since when has ci meant it and not lo or la?


    what is wrong with I didn't think about it?


    Another module quoted "pensarci su" as "to think about it", but no "su" here.


    Why couldn't it be " Non l'avevo pensato"


    That would be "I did not think it" = "I did not think so".


    Why was "I had not though it" marked wrong?


    Probably because the word is "thought," not "though."


    I am really struggling to understand the rules behind this - I would translate this sentence as I had not thought about us. Why is "ci" used here as opposed to, for example, "non l'avevo pensato"??


    If you say: Non l'avevo pensato => I had not thought it (as a direct object)

    Ci can mean one of at least three unrelated things:

    1) Ci = there. Ci sono molte cose = There are many things. C'e un tavolo = There is a table.

    2) Ci = us/ ourselves/each other. Ci vediamo= We (will) see each other (later) => Goodbye. Non ci avevi pensato = You had not thought about us.
    However to avoid confusion with #3 below, "I had not thought about us" by default translates to "Non avevo pensato a noi". For more reasons why "us" does not apply in this exercise, see Itastudent+'s comments from 6 years earlier.

    3) Ci = "a + qualcosa/quello/questo" = "about some aforementioned subject" => "about it/them". So in this exercise: Non = not, ci= about it, avevo pensato = I had thought. => I had not thought about it.
    This avoids repeating "Non avevo pensato a ( x x x x x )"

    "Ci" in this exercise fits #3.


    Notwithstanding that DL has some quirks when it comes to word-for-word vs idiomatic translations, would "I had not thought so" be a correct translation, if not exactly the one the app would accept?

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