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  5. "Credevamo che lo sapeste già…

"Credevamo che lo sapeste già."

Translation:We believed that you already knew it.

November 10, 2013



Just to be clear: This particular sentence uses the imperfect subjunctive 'sapeste', not the remote past 'sapeste'. They are the same word (2nd person plural).

I suspect that the Duo computer program saw 'sapeste' and automatically included it here in a unit on the remote past.


Thanks, that makes sense!


I'm curious -- would this sentence ever be said? And is the English faithful to the Italian here? My current understanding of the tenses suggests that this actually means something like

We (used to believe)/(were believing) that you already knew it (a long time ago).

Would the imperfect and passato remoto really be mixed in one narration like this? Surely, if the "knowing" is in the "remote past" then the "used to believing" must also be in the remote past?


"sapeste" is also the imperfect subjunctive form, which evidently is what is meant here. So one imperfect matches another.

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My understanding is that sapessi is the imperfect subjunctive form, and that sapeste is the past absolute form. Therefore I don't understand your explanation.


Sapeste is the 2nd person plural of sapere in both the imperfect subjunctive and remote past. As Viaggiatore already mentioned, the former is meant here.


I would like to explain something, maybe it's a bit more understandable. In the imperfect subjunctive there's no "voi sapeste" alone, like in remote past, there's "che voi sapeste", without "che" it's not imperfect subjunctive, but remote past. For an Italian there's no problem, but for a foreigner it's possible getting a bit of confusion.


the verbs designating the states of mind often used in imperfect in a sense of ordinary past (and some of them, when used in, say, passato prossimo, mean something different actually)


"We thought you already knew" might be a better translation


Why is "already new him" not allowed here?


To say "knew him" you would have to use the verb conoscere.


Seems to me that I've been marked wrong when I translated the lo as "it"- the explanation being that it was a kind of invisible (in English) pronoun required in Italian.

But I'm also studying Spanish, and sometimes I get the two mixed up on stuff like this.


How about We believed that she already knew him"??


Sapere is never used to indicate a person. When you see "lo" with sapere, it always means "it".


The audio says "sapesse", not "sapeste".


I'm english and i wouldn't necessarily add the 'that' - but i was marked wrong!


As you probably know, English is one of the few Western languages that can omit the "that" (or other comjunction) when introducing a subordinate clause.

But although it can be omitted, it is usually not wrong to include it. When doing DL exercises, I usually include it, in part because I like to match up with the "che" in the Italian.


Can anybody explain why "we believed that you already knew him" would be wrong? Is there a good reason why "lo" can only mean "it" in this context? How would one say "him" then?


Remember, in Italian there are two different words for "know", namely, "sapere" and "conoscere".

To know a person, you would use the latter. To know a fact, you would use the former.


You are so right! The moment I posted the question it occurred to me too but wanted to be sure anyway. Thank you.


Why not knew him instead of knew it. Lo=it or him as direct object.


To say "knew him" in Italian, the verb for "know" would have to be "conoscere". Since the verb is "sapere", we know that we are talking about knowing an item of knowledge rather than a person. So here "lo" must mean "it" rather than "him".


So how would you say "We believe he already knew it"


Can someone explain how half of a sentence can be in the remote past and the other half not be? If the sentence were "We believe that you knew it" it would make sense, or even, "We were believing that you knew it." But the sentence as written in English makes no distinction about when "we believed." Why shouldn't it be "Credemmo che lo sapeste gia."?


Keith, read the very first entry on this page. The remote past is NOT used in the DL Italian sentence we are give here. What we have here is the imperfect followed by the imperfect subjunctive.


I translated using "sapesti" (rather than "sapeste") because I'm used to seeing "you all" or "you guys" to signify "voi" (instead of "tu").


The verb in the subordinate clause here must be in the imperfect subjunctive, NOT in the remote past. So, if you want to translate the plural English you, you must use "sapeste", and if you want to translate the singular English you, you must use "sapessi".

The word you are suggesting, "sapesti" is the singular you in the remote past (past absolute). But that is not the correct tense to use in the DL sentence here. (See the other comments on this page.)

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