Tense Question

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Darroh
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Tense Question

Post by Darroh »

First of all, thanks for this place. I am so happy I found a forum where people can learn Italian.

I have a pretty good vocabulary, but my structuring isn't as good as I'd like it; it mostly has to do with tense/ mood.

My question is: which past tense do I use, and when would I know when to use it? I know with the subjunctive mood, it's about things that are uncertain, but I'm still confused.

I'm hoping someone here can explain it better.

Thank you very much.
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keithatengagedthinking
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Post by keithatengagedthinking »

Hi there.

Certain verbs and expressions require the subjunctive. Check out this post on my blog - it lists some of the common ones.

The subjunctive would only be used if the subject changes. Then the dependent clause that follows the expression would require the subjunctive. See these examples below:

Spero di andare al cinema domani sera.
I hope to go to the movies tomorrow evening.
(infinitive is used because there is no change in the subject)

Spero che tu vada al cinema domani sera.
I hope you go to the movies tomorrow evening.
(literally: I hope that you go to the movies tomorrow evening.)
(the subjunctive is used because there is a change of subject - from I to you)

Some conjunctions also require the subjunctive, too.

Hope this helps.
Roby
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Post by Roby »

Roby
"Per raro che sia, il vero amore e' meno raro della vera amicizia."

"As rare as true love is, it is not as rare as true friendship."
- François de La Rochefoucauld
Darroh
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Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 2:18 am

Post by Darroh »

keithatengagedthinking wrote:Hi there.

Certain verbs and expressions require the subjunctive. Check out this post on my blog - it lists some of the common ones.
Thanks for your help. I just have a question:

IN the example you've used:
Oggi vado al supermercato che vende le patate rosse

I thought it would be more like:
Oggi, sto andando al supermercato che vende le patete rosse.

if you wanted to ad the -ing. Am I wrong or is it just another way of expressing basically the same thing?
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keithatengagedthinking
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Post by keithatengagedthinking »

Sto andando = I am going

This construction is the present progressive.

Vado = I am going
Sto andando = I am going

They both mean the same thing, however, the present progressive in Italian is only used to talk about actions that are currently happening.

The present tense in Italian is more versatile and is used more often and can mean:

Vado al supermercato = I am going to the supermarket, I go to the supermarket or I do go to the supermarket.
Darroh
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Post by Darroh »

keithatengagedthinking wrote:Sto andando = I am going

This construction is the present progressive.

Vado = I am going
Sto andando = I am going

They both mean the same thing, however, the present progressive in Italian is only used to talk about actions that are currently happening.

The present tense in Italian is more versatile and is used more often and can mean:

Vado al supermercato = I am going to the supermarket, I go to the supermarket or I do go to the supermarket.
Awesome, thank you. But just so I'm clear:

Using sto andando is strictly for something that is happening currently, correct?

Whereas Vado can be used for a multiple amount of things (IE: I go, I am going, or I do go.)

Thanks for your help, man.
Devery
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Post by Devery »

To maybe further elaborate. . .
Keith said:
Vado al supermercato = I am going to the supermarket, I go to the supermarket or I do go to the supermarket.
Let's say someone called you during the day asking what you are going to do. You could tell them that Vado al supermercato e poi vado da Sandra. (I am going to (go to) the supermarket and then to Sandra's house.

Now then, let's say someone calls you WHILE you are going to the supermarket, it is then you would say "Sto andando al supermercato." Why? Because you are actually doing that action, at that moment. Usually, this tense (gerundio) is used to describe an action you are doing AT THAT MOMENT.

I hope this helps a little. . .
Roby
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Post by Roby »

Great explanations Keith and Devery...

Here are some links that further explain the present indicative and present progressive, gerund and the verb stare...

http://www.impariamo.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=762

http://www.impariamo.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=978
Roby
"Per raro che sia, il vero amore e' meno raro della vera amicizia."

"As rare as true love is, it is not as rare as true friendship."
- François de La Rochefoucauld
Darroh
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Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2007 2:18 am

Post by Darroh »

Thank you very much. You have made this much more clear.

grazie a tutti.
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keithatengagedthinking
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Post by keithatengagedthinking »

You might find this post from my blog helpful on the present tense.
Darroh
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Post by Darroh »

keithatengagedthinking wrote:You might find this post from my blog helpful on the present tense.
So in Italian, it's inferred through the context what tense the verb is going to be?

For example, you say:

Presto il programma comincia.

And you say it would mean: Soon the program will begin.

Even though it's a present tense form of the verb. You're saying it doesn't really matter?

Before, I would've said
Presto, il programa comincerà.

I guess my confusion is similar to what it was before, where I'm taking everything to a more literal extreme.

Thanks
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keithatengagedthinking
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Post by keithatengagedthinking »

My advice would be to not think in English. Italian has different rules, and you can't always translate

In Italian, the present tense can be used for the future, like the example that you gave, but you can also use the future too, as in your other example. Italian has fewer tenses than in English and some tenses have more than one function where English would have separate tenses. Try not to translate 1 for 1 since it's not always possible.

Yes - the context will often determine the usage.
Roby
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Post by Roby »

Great advice and explanation Keith !

Rob, You cannot translate English to Italian literally or visa versa. It doesn't work.

Take a look at this link

http://www.impariamo.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2451
Roby
"Per raro che sia, il vero amore e' meno raro della vera amicizia."

"As rare as true love is, it is not as rare as true friendship."
- François de La Rochefoucauld
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