12.4.10 exercise 10: The "si impersonale" and the "si pasivante" with reflexive verbs
In the case of a reflexive verb one si follows another si, we would get therefore si si. The first si from the si passivante / si impersonale and the second si is the reflexive pronoun. To avoid that si si becomes ci si. This problem can occurre in both cases, in the case of the si passivante and in the case of the si impersonale. (In the case of the si passivante the reflexive pronoun is an direct object, if someone cares about it and want to know it.)
Ci si lava. <=> One wash oneself.
Ci si compra una casa. <=> A house is bought. (Literally: A house buys itself for itself.)
This construction, si impersonale / si passivante can be formed with a simple and a compound tense.
Ci si vede nello specchio. <=> One see oneself in the mirror.
Ci si è visti nello specchio. <=> On has seen oneself in the mirror.
Pay attention to the fact that the ci in ci si is only a reflexive pronoun in the case that the verb is used in a reflexive way. In relationship with a verb that doesn' t have an object (verbs like to go, to spring, to swim) it is a pronominal adverb and used together with a verb that can have a direct AND an indirect object (People buy it for him) it is a direct object.
ci si with a reflexive verb (ci is a reflexive pronoun)
Ci si lava le mani. <=> One washes onself the hands.
ci si with a verb, that doesn' t have an object at all (ci is a pronominal adverb)
Ci si va tutti i giorni. <=> One goes there every day.
ci si with a verb, that has a direct object as well as an indirect object (ci is a direct object)
Ci si compra una macchina. <=> One buys a car for us.