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Italian Expression of the Day#2

Metterci and volerci are two expressions that seem to confuse some of you.

Let's take a look at them.
If you use volerci in a sentence such as It takes one hour to get to work. You should say ci vuole un'ora per arrivare a lavoro.
By translating it literally you can see what the sentence is actually saying:

One hour is needed to get to work.

One hour is the actual singular subject of the sentence and ci vuole must agree with it.
If you use a plural subject, you'll see that the verb will change accordingly.
Ci vogliono due ore per arrivare a lavoro - two hours are needed to get to work.

As you can see the time is needed to do something is always the subject when using volerci.

On the other hand with metterci the subject is always a person, not the time.
Ci metto un'ora per andare a lavoro, literally becomes I put an hour in it to get to work. So I (io) is the actual subject here.

When the person/subject changes so will the verb metterci - e.g. ci mettiamo un'ora per andare a lavoro. We put one an hour in it to get to work. We (noi) being the subject of the sentence.

To sum up, use volerci to say how much time is needed to do something. The subject here is always the time and the options are always two
1. ci vuole when the time is singular - one hour, one minute, one day and so on.
2. ci vogliono when the time is plural - two, three, four hours/day/months and so on.

With metterci a person or more than a person is always the subject and the verb is used to say how long that person takes to do something.

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