Italian Language/use of "ci sono"

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Question
Dear Maria,

My question is about the use of “ci sono” in the following dialogue.

  Quante biciclette ci sono? How many bicycles are there?)
  Ci sono tre biciclette. (There are 3 bicycles)

These sentences came from a computer course that I am using to study Italian.  They are used as captions under a picture of three bicycles.

I am wondering about the use of “ci sono” to indicate something very definite such as the three bicycles.  I had thought that “ci sono” was used to refer to the existence of something or someone in a generalization and that “ecco” was used to point out something very definite.

But, seeing this dialogue makes me wonder if “ci sono” can also be used to point out something very definite – such as the presence of three specific bicycles.

Can you please tell me if saying “Ci sono tre biciclette” is acceptable or not.  If “yes”, would I then be correct to say that “ci sono”  can be used to indicate the presence of something specific or someone specific?

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

Rich

Answer
Dear Rich,

the use of “ci sono” in the dialogue that you mention is absolutely correct, for the verb “esserci”  means exactly “to be there”, independently from the fact that  something or someone  are very definite or not.

So, we say e.g. :“Ci sono degli spettatori in sala” (indefinite) as well as  “Ci sono cinquanta spettatori in sala” (definite); “C’erano poche persone alla cerimonia” (indefinite)  as well as “C’erano venti persone alla cerimonia” (definite), etc.

As you can see, it’s not true  that “ci sono”  is used to refer to the existence of something or someone in a generalization.

In short, “ci sono” can also be used to point out something very definite – such as the presence of three specific bicycles in the sentence that you mention, and it is correct to say that “ci sono”  can be used to indicate the presence of something specific or someone specific as well as the presence of something / someone in a generalization.

Kind regards,

Maria

Italian Language

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Maria

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Italian is my mother tongue and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning Italian Language.

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Over 25 years teaching experience.

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I received my Ph.D.in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

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