Ho saputo?

I translated the question 'ho saputo troppe cose' as: I have known too many things. However, the correct answer was: I have found out too many things.

Can anyone please explain what was wrong with my answer?

It's root is sapere which is to know, so surely the verbo passato prossimo should be 'known'. There are times when I get very confused!

December 30, 2013

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Conoscere and sapere change meaning a little in the past, as they refer to the moment in the past when you started to know something, so "l'ho saputo" is a way of saying "I heard of it" or "I've been told so", and "l'ho conosciuto" often translates to "I met him". I can't think of a context where "I have known" would be equivalent, for instance "I have known him for a long time" would be "lo conosco da tanto tempo"; I can't say there isn't one though.

December 30, 2013

I did the Michel Thomas Italian course a while ago, and the way he explains it is that some verbs tend to be used in the imperfect by their nature, 'sapere' being one of them (and 'pensare', 'credere', etc): if you 'knew' something, chances are you knew it for a period of time and probably still know it, rather than that you knew it for just one moment. So it would be more usual to say 'sapevo' for 'I knew', unless you really are talking about just one specific instance (e.g. "I knew the answer"). Since "I knew" is usually translated as "sapevo", "ho saputo" takes on a different meaning, "I found out" (I suppose because you're talking about a 'knowing' which has a specific beginning and ending, as is the case when you find out about something). Hope that makes sense - I remember being pretty puzzled too before I learned about this!

Having said that, "I have known too many things" seems a little bit different to either meaning so I'm not 100% sure how you would say that - would "sapevo troppe cose" be the right translation? Hopefully someone else knows for sure!

December 31, 2013

Thanks katydid (and f.formica) that is a big help.

January 1, 2014
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