Introduction to Italian/Lesson 8

C'è, ci sono, and ecco all mean there is/there are but in different ways.

C'è and ci sonoEdit

Basically, c'è and ci sono indicate presence. So c'è un libro sul tavolo basically means there exists a book on the table, and ci sono molti libri alla biblioteca means there exist many books at the library. Of course, it doesn’t sound as awkward in Italian. Think of them as there’s a book on the table and there are lots of books at the library respectively.
Note: The word c'è is basically just a contraction of the words ci and è.

EccoEdit

The word ecco is generally used to draw attention to a specific object. Say your dog ran away. If you found him down the street you might alert your family by saying Ecco il cane! (There’s the dog!). Ecco doesn’t change based on quantity; ecco il cane and ecco i cani are both correct.

Notes on c'è, ci sono, and eccoEdit

Basically, c'è and ci sono refer to an indefinite (un libro) whereas ecco refers to a definite (il libro). Also, when using ecco the object you are referring to has to be immediately available (a book on a table or a library that you can see down the street), whereas c'è and ci sono usually refer to something that’s not immediately available (a book on a table back at home or a library in another city).