Italian verbs metterci and volerci

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The Italian verbs metterci and volerci express the time it takes to do something. However they behave differently. Let’s see exactly what they mean and how they are used.

Volerci

Ci vuole un’ora
Ci vogliono due ore

The verb volerci denotes the time it takes to do something or go somewhere. The subject of this expression is not a person, but the time, therefore there are only two forms:

inforgrafica volerci - Italian verbs metterci and volerci

The form ci vuole is used when the word that expresses the time is singular, i.e. un’ora an hour.
The form ci vogliono is used when the word that expresses the time is plural, i.e. due ore two hours.

This ci means actually nothing, you just need it in order for volere to get this particular meaning.

Ci vogliono circa due ore per arrivare all’hotel.It takes about two hours to get to the hotel.
Ci vuole tempo!It takes time!

Metterci

(io) ci metto due ore
Fiona ci mette due ore

The verb metterci means practically the same, with the difference that it is about the time it takes someone to do something. In this case the subject is the person and the verb must be conjugated accordingly. Also in this case, ci has no particular meaning and you don’t have to adapt it.

infografica metterci - Italian verbs metterci and volerci

(io) ci metto un’ora, due ore(noi) ci mettiamo un’ora, due ore
(tu) ci metti un’ora, due ore(voi) ci mettete un’ora, due ore
(lui, lei) ci mette un’ora, due ore(loro) ci mettono un’ora, due ore
Ci metto mezz’ora per arrivare in ufficio.I takes me half an hour to get to the office.
Mia moglie ci mette un’ora per prepararsi!It takes my wife an hour to get ready!

Metterci and volerci in passato prossimo

Volerci

Like in the present, you have only two forms: the 3rd singular and plural. Since the auxiliary of volerci is essere, you need to adapt the ending. Pay attention: The subject of volerci is the time, so the ending refers to time word you are using. Ci remains unchanged.

ci vuole molto tempoci è voluto molto tempo
ci vuole un’oraci è voluta un’ora
ci vogliono molti annici sono voluti molti anni
ci vogliono due oreci sono volute due ore

Metterci

The subject of metterci is the person and must be conjugated accordingly. The auxiliary of metterci is avere, so you don’t need to adapt the ending. As before, ci remains unchanged.

(io) ci metto un’ora, due ore(io) ci ho messo un’ora, due ore
(tu) ci metti un’ora, due ore(tu) ci hai messo un’ora, due ore
(lui, lei) ci mette un’ora, due ore(lui, lei) ci ha messo un’ora, due ore
(noi) ci mettiamo un’ora, due ore(noi) ci abbiamo messo un’ora, due ore
(voi) ci mettete un’ora, due ore(voi) ci avete messo un’ora, due ore
(loro) ci mettono un’ora, due ore(loro) ci hanno messo un’ora, due ore

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