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Andarsene: yet another important pronominal verb

We have talked about pronominal verbs before, and we have mentioned our featured pronominal verb andarsene in a lesson about telling someone to "get lost." But let's delve deeper.


Perhaps if we talk about pronominal verbs often enough, they will be less daunting, and they will start making more sense. Andarsene (to leave, to take one's leave) is perhaps even more common than farcela, which we have talked about very recently, but they are both high up on the list of pronominal verbs to know and love. So let's dive in!



Andarsene: Let's unpack it

Andarsene has as its main verb, the irregular verb andare (to go). But instead of just going, we add on some particles that make it mean something more. We make it personal with se (oneself), and we imply we are leaving a place, person, or situation, or, we could say, "going away from a place, person or situation" with the particle ne. In this context, ne is a pronoun representing an indirect object with its preposition, all in one! 

Se uno sta bene in un posto, embè, deve avere una ragione forte per andarsene, se no...

If one's happy in a place, well, they have to have a really good reason for leaving it, otherwise...

Captions 33-34, Il Commissario Manara S1EP12 - Le verità nascoste - Part 8

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Let's also mention that in a way, andarsene (to leave, to go away from a place) is the opposite of going somewhere — to a place. When we go somewhere, we can use the particle ci (to, in, or at that place) as an indirect pronoun including the preposition. In English, "there" stands for "to/at/in that place."

Hanno suonato alla porta. Ci vado io (the doorbell rang. -I'll go [there]).

It's easy to get mixed up between ne and ci


Conjugating andarsene

When we conjugate andarsene, we split the verb in different ways, depending on the conjugation. 


When you simply want to say, "I'm leaving [this place]" you can say:

Me ne vado (I'm leaving).

It's the equivalent of vado via (I'm leaving, I'm going away).


When no modal verb is involved, we generally have the person, the place (from this place) and then the verb in third place, conjugated. The same goes for other persons:


Alle otto se ne vanno a casa e non escono più, come le galline.

At eight o'clock they leave and go home and don't go out again, like hens.

Caption 40, Il Commissario Manara S1EP3 - Rapsodia in Blu - Part 12

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Andarsene with modal verbs

However, if we use a modal verb such as potere (to be able to) or volere (to want to), dovere (to have to), then we conjugate the modal verb and the pronominal verb remains in the infinitive, although the particles may be separate from it.

Ecco perché io non me ne voglio andare.

That's why I don't want to leave here.

Caption 5, Basilicata Turistica Non me ne voglio andare - Part 1

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It's also possible (when there is a modal verb) to mix the parts of the pronominal verb up differently and say:

Ecco perché non voglio andarmene (that's why I don't want to leave here).


In the following example, we have 2 different conjugations. The first one is one word, a command, with the verb root first: the imperative of andare, va', then the person, te, and then our "place" particle, ne. In the second sentence, the modal verb dovere (to have to) is used. 

Ricotta! -Oh, vattene! Te ne devi andare!

Ricotta! -Oh, get out of here. You have to leave!

Caption 47, Non è mai troppo tardi EP 2 - Part 7

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Compound tenses

Let's remember that the verb andare takes essere (to be) as an auxiliary verb for compound tenses such as the passato prossimo, which conjugates like the present perfect in English. We conjugate the auxiliary verb and the root verb is in its past participle form.

Finalmente se ne sono andati.

Finally, they've gone.

Caption 15, Acqua in bocca Allarme gita - Ep 9

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Try thinking of people you know, or can imagine, and combinations of people. 1) They might be leaving a theater or a party... one by one, in couples, all of them 2) They never seem to leave but you would like them to. 3) They have all left. We'll need the passato prossimo for that. Have they left together or in dribs and drabs? Let us know how you do.

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