The difference between metterci and volerci


Ci metto un’ora. Ci vuole un’ora. 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. Don’t forget to do the exercises at the end.

The Italian verbs metterci and 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, therefor it’s an impersonal expression and there are only two forms:

  • Ci vuole + Singular: Ci vuole un’ora
  • Ci vogliono + Plural: Ci vogliono due ore

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!

In general, the verb volerci is used not only to express time, but you can use it also with other things:

Ci vuole molta pazienza con lui.It takes a lot of patience with him.
Ci vuole più coraggio a vivere che a morire. It takes more courage to live than to die.


(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, therefore it’s no more impersonal, but it’s about a person. 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.

ioci mettoun’ora / due ore
tuci metti un’ora / due ore
lui, leici mette un’ora / due ore
noici mettiamo un’ora / due ore
voici mettete un’ora / due ore
loroci mettono un’ora / due ore
Ci metto mezz’ora per arrivare in ufficio.It takes me half an hour to get to the office.
Mia moglie ci mette tre ore per prepararsi!It takes my wife three hours to get ready!

Metterci and volerci in passato prossimo

Do you already know the passato prossimo? You can review it in our lesson about the Italian passato prossimo.
Now let’s see how behave metterci and volerci in passato prossimo.


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 è voluto molto tempo, un minuto, un anno
ci è volutaun’ora, una settimana
ci sono voluti molti anni, alcuni minuti, dieci giorni
ci sono volute due ore, tre settimane


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.

ioci ho messoun’ora / due ore
tuci hai messoun’ora / due ore
lui, leici ha messoun’ora / due ore
noici abbiamo messoun’ora / due ore
voici avete messoun’ora / due ore
loroci hanno messoun’ora / due ore


1. Metterci o volerci? Drag the words and complete the sentences.

2. Write the verb METTERCI in passato prossimo

3. Write the verb VOLERCI in passato prossimo

Impara di più!

GRAMMATICA: passato prossimo: essere o avere?
VOCABOLARIO: Daily activities
STORIE: Read a story in Italian

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your online bookstore specialized in learning Italian.

Our latest posts

Play Memory

Practice your skills with fun by matching little images with their translation!
In our Vocabulary Trainer you’ll find Memory Games, Interactive Flashcards and more.

Attend our Italian Courses

Start learning Italian with us! Complete learning units with Communication topics, Grammar, Vocabulary, a Videocorso to enjoy watching and extras in the Pausa Caffè section.

Wanna learn more?

Sign up for our newsletter

Donate a cookie!

Help us to improve our content and keep the website alive and free from ads. Thank you for your support!


Follow us

Shopping cart

Ora spedizione gratuita in Germania!

Start typing to see posts you are looking for.