"We had known our mother."

Translation:Nós tínhamos conhecido nossa mãe.

January 5, 2013

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how about " nós têmos conhecido nossa maê" ?


Not the same meaning. It would mean "we have been knowing our mother" (like if she was unknown and is getting to be known gradually)


This is one of those cases where the "have been -ing" translation doesn't work well, at least if you translate "conhecer" as simply "know". This page explains the technicalities: http://www.perfect-english-grammar.com/stative-verbs.html.

Of course, your idea of what "Nós temos conhecido nossa mãe" means, that is "We have been getting to know our mother" fits the pattern provided "conhecer" can be translated as "to get to know".


I cannot avoid the feeling... but this tense asks for a time reference.

"We had known our mother by the time we left the orphanage." = "Nós tínhamos conhecido nossa mãe na época que saímos do orfanato"


So not just simple past, but pluperfect can be the same as present?

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No, the translation is wrong. The simple (or synthetic) pluperfect would be "Nós conhecêramos nossa mãe."

But nobody talks like that, you'll only see it in written form. In spoken form, the compound pluperfect (just like in English) is used. The compound pluperfect is formed by using either the auxiliary verb "ter" or "haver" in the imperfect past tense + the other verb in the past participle. So the phrase would be "Nós tínhamos/havíamos conhecido nossa mãe".


Thank you erudis for revealing to me that the simple pluperfect is not used in speech. I never understood why there were these two alternatives and what was the difference.


Ah OK, thanks for the tip!


If I use "a gente" as the subject here, how do I do the possessive? Do I say: "A gente tinha conhecido a mãe da gente.", or do I use the possessive for "Nós" and say: "A gente tinha conhecido a nossa mãe."?


I find it difficult to imagine a situation in which someone would use this phrase.

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