Italian Lessons


Lessons for topic Pronominal verbs

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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Farcela: a pronominal verb to have in your toolkit

We have talked about pronominal verbs before, but pronominal verbs are tricky, so we've come back to them once again.

For more about pronominal verbs, check out this lesson.

This time, let's look at a pronominal verb people use all the time: farcela. It's about succeeding, managing, being able, making it — or not.


One tricky thing about pronominal verbs is that when they are conjugated, you have to find the parts. These verbs are more recognizable when they're in the infinitive as in the following example.

Non so se potrò farcela senza di lei.

I don't know if I can manage without her.

Caption 46, Provaci ancora prof! S2EP2 Una mina vagante - Part 25

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Let's take it apart

If we take farcela apart, we get the verb fare (to do, to make); we get ce. Let's keep in mind that ce means the same thing as ci, but when we have a direct object in addition to the indirect object pronoun ci, then ci turns into ce! Very tricky! Then we have laLa stands for "it" and is a direct object pronoun.


Let's also remember that when you say (in English), "I made it," you can mean you baked the cake, and in this case "to make" is transitive, or you can mean you succeeded in doing something, you managed, you were able. The verb "to succeed" is intransitive — we need a preposition after it. This may help in understanding farcela.


Be', in qualche modo ce l'abbiamo fatta e questo ci ha rafforzati.

Well, somehow we did it and this made us stronger.

Captions 60-61, COVID-19 3) La quarantena

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Finalmente ce l'hai fatta a farti sospendere dal servizio.

Finally, you managed to get yourself suspended from service.

Caption 30, Il Commissario Manara S2EP8 - Fuori servizio - Part 10

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Word order

A pronominal verb gets separated into its parts when it's conjugated. Often we find the indirect object pronoun first (ce). Then we have the direct object pronoun (la). We have the conjugated verb, which, in this case, is in the passato prossimo tense. It uses the helping verb avere (to have) and the past participle of the verb fare (to do, to make). If the pronominal verb were to occur in the present tense, then fare would be the conjugated verb.

Eh, basta, croce. Non ce la faccio più.

Uh, that's it, forget it. I can't manage any longer.

Caption 17, Chi m'ha visto film - Part 6

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Non ce la faccio, mi fai cadere.

I can't keep up, you'll make me fall.

Caption 2, Il Commissario Manara S1EP1 - Un delitto perfetto - Part 1

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Farcela is very handy when you can't succeed in something (as well as when you can!). It might be getting to a party, or it might be running an errand. It might be running a race. 

One way to say you can't make it (to a party, an appointment, etc) is simply:

Non ce la faccio, mi dispiace (I can't make it, I'm sorry).

Non ce la faccio a venire (I can't make it, I'm sorry).


But we can use it in other tenses, too.

T'ho detto che ce l'avrei fatta, va be', nie' [niente].

I told you I would have made it, OK, I didn't.

Caption 24, Chi m'ha visto film - Part 6

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"Non ce l'ho fatta ad arrivare fino a casa con tutta quella neve".

"I wasn't able to get all the way home with all this snow."

Captions 39-40, Corso di italiano con Daniela Fino a e Finché - Part 1

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Things to keep in mind

Note that there are plenty of different ways to translate farcela depending on the context. As you might have noticed, farcela sometimes has to do with keeping up. There are a whole lot of things this pronominal verb can be used for.
So stay on the lookout for this handy pronominal verb and learn to use it by repeating what you hear and see.
Important: Since the direct object pronoun is a feminine one, always la, the past participle takes the same feminine ending, fatta, not fatto. Remembering this will make it easier to use and recognize it.


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