I have heard the following dialogue between a prisoner and a guard in a movie:

– So’ ‘n regalo dei carabinieri, ‘sti lividi!
– Queste sono accuse gravi!
– Eh, come le botte che m’hanno dato!
– E io che ne so che me stai a di’ la verità?

The English subtitle says that the last sentence means "How do I know that is the truth?". How does it mean that? I am familiar with the usage of "ne" in Italian, but I am not sure if I understood it here. "Che ne so" = What do I know of this ?

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    I don’t know how the two sentences are related, anyway the second one is a colloquial/dialectal way to express the idea that you don’t know the truth about something.
    – user519
    Aug 27, 2019 at 7:33
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    Suppongo che le frasi siano prese da qui: manifestosardo.org/sulla-mia-pelle-un-film-necessario (film Sulla mia pelle) ma entrambe sono scritte in romanesco, non come invece sono presentate qui sopra
    – Joe Taras
    Aug 27, 2019 at 12:48
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    @JoeTaras you are right, the dialogue is from "Sulla mia pelle". I have copied it from the subtitles before and they are a little different from what is really said. I also had cut 2 lines to simplify my question. I have updated the dialogue text in my question. Thanks for the link! Aug 27, 2019 at 15:27
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    Penso che il dialogo si capisca meglio nel link che ha messo @JoeTaras.
    – Charo
    Aug 27, 2019 at 15:35
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    “Che ne so che me stai a dire la verità” is a much clearer sentence. “How do I know that you are telling me the truth?”
    – user519
    Aug 27, 2019 at 16:11

1 Answer 1


Ne is used in this context as "pronome personale" (personal pronoun). It means "di ciò" ("of this {topic/person/whatever}").

Che ne so is a very common spoken expression meaning what/how would I know about {it/him/her}. It can be just an observation/question, or it can have a slightly sarcastic/aggressive/explanatory/pitiful meaning (the tone changes the meaning).

If used as question, it is rarely just a question: it is usually a rhetorical question that implies something more. For example: bel trucco magico, ma che ne so che non hai scambiato il mazzo di carte con uno differente? means nice magic trick, but how would I know that you didn't swap the deck of cards for a different one? (implying that's exactly what you/the magician did).

In your case, Che ne so che me stai a dire la verità? means how would I know that you're telling the truth? implying that there is no way I can have a certainty.

Come so che me stai a dire la verità? would be correct also, but it's a real genuine question.

From the Treccani encyclopedia:

– come pronome ➔personale, è usato al posto delle forme di ciò, da ciò, di questo, da quello ecc.

(example) Ne (= di ciò) parlerò ai nostri soci

(example) Una volta dimostrato che io ho ragione, ne (= da ciò) segue che voi avete torto

spesso con valore di ➔partitivo

(example) Vorrei una caramella all’anice: ce ne (= di queste) sono ancora?

In alcuni casi ne è usato solo per intensificare l’azione espressa da alcuni verbi intransitivi nelle costruzioni con i pronomi personali atoni mi, ti, si, ci, vi

(example) Me ne vado via Se ne stava tranquillo a casa

Side note: in che ne so che me stai a dire la verità? the me should be instead the pronoun mi ("mi stai a dire" = "telling me"). If you found it like this, just know that it is a dialectal expression (pretty informal/spoken, also).

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    I would say that this "ne" is a pronoun, but not a personal pronoun. I really don't understand why Treccani says it's a personal pronoun.
    – Charo
    Aug 27, 2019 at 20:42
  • @Charo I have wondered the same. It is confusing and misleading. Aug 28, 2019 at 14:32
  • @amm0nium why "prendi me" instead of "prendimi" ? IMHO direct object/indirect object/reflexive pronouns are an extensive topic which do not need to be covered here. I'd prefer to focus on the question. Sep 4, 2019 at 1:45
  • @AlanEvangelista yeah i know it's a separate topic, i was just trying to enrich the side note... it's better if i remove it
    – aetonsi
    Sep 5, 2019 at 15:03

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