"Gli dissi qual era il problema."

Translation:I told him what the problem was.

November 10, 2013

This discussion is locked.


I'm still trying to wrap my head around passato remoto. If, in this sentence, the "telling" is in the remote past, how can the "problem" be in the imperfect, since the "problem" must have happened before the "telling of the problem"? Or is this OK because the passato remoto sets the "absolute" time frame, and then everything else in the sentence is "relative" to this time frame -- so this is an ongoing/habitual problem occurring before the "dissi", which itself happened in the remote past?


Apparently the idea is that the problem continued to exist for a while. During that stretch of time I (punctually) asked what it was. Just like "I was eating when the phone rang."


I think that makes sense, thanks


I am reading Barron's "Italian Verb Workbook" and they actually call this tense "past absolute".


'I told them that was the problem', not correct?


- I told them what the problem was - ← CORRECT
Nowadays the pronoun "gli" is used for the third person singular (him) but also for the third person plural (them)

  • gli dissi... = dissi a lui... = I told him...
  • gli dissi... = dissi loro... = I told them...


Isn't "gli" plural?


It could be plural, but it is also used as the third person masculine singular indirect object pronoun. Maybe you confused it with the article.


WHy not "fu il problema" when you use passato remoto on the first part??


I offered “Gli dissi cos’era il problema,” but DL doesn’t accept it. I think that this is acceptable, so I am reporting it, but I would like to hear from others about this. It seems to me that the offered Italian would translate better as “I told him which problem it was.” This version means nearly the same thing, but suggests there is a list of problems and I am indicating which of them was the problem before him. One might use this English sentence with a doctor or a plumber who had just listed some possible problems, for instance.


I translated this as I said to him, what was the problem...It was marked wrong...

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