Some of these pronouns can be confusing to a beginner, as they have multiple meanings in different situations.
- nessuno (no one, nobody, anybody, none)
- niente (no, nothing, anything)
- che (what, who, which)
- qualcuno (someone, somebody)
The Italian pronoun ciò can be particularly confusing. It is a masculine pronoun, only singular, and it indicates or replaces the noun of a thing, generally referred as a verb or a phrase, it can be both subject and complement.
It can be used when you have discussed something, so that “this thing” or “that thing” is referred to something you know.
- Tutto ciò è vero. (That‘s all true.)
- Parlammo a lungo di ciò che gli era accaduto. (We talked a lot about what happened to him.)
- Hai fatto ciò che ho detto? (Have you done what I told you?)
Notice the use of it with che in some examples? Ciò che means “that which”, but translates to “what” in these examples.
- Vedo ciò che fai. (I see what you’re doing.) …. or literally (I see that which you are doing.)
|che||what, who, which|
|nessuno||no one, nobody, anybody, none|
|niente||no, nothing, anything|
|ciò||that, it (formal)|
|cui||whose (of which)|