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  5. "Ela não entendia meu inglês."

"Ela não entendia meu inglês."

Translation:She did not understand my English.

February 8, 2014



I don't understand yet, it doesn't make sense having this tense if it means the same as the basic past. All the hints point to a "used to" context. "She did not understand my English.", in context would mean that subject of the sentence still does not understand. However, if translated according to the hints, "She used to not understand my English.", would mean that the subject did not understand initially, but has since begun to understand.


Did it mark wrong? I'd also translate it like that. Maybe I even did… Maybe Duolingo translates it like that because of stative verbs. I've seen many times native English speakers using the simple past in situations where I'd normally use the passado imperfeito… It may be that. “I didn't like coffee when I was a child” = “eu não gostava de café quando era criança”.


I think I used the simple past on this one because that was the pattern I had seen with other sentences in this section. I had many answers marked wrong because they did not accept the "used to" context in favor of the simple past.

For English speakers, it may be normal to use the simple past where a native Portuguese speaker would use the imperfect past, but it does not teach the English speakers proper usage of the imperfect past in Portuguese by allowing for a use of simple past in translation. It is not just a matter of learning special words. It is a matter of learning the right way to think about how those word are used in context.


The translation of the Portuguese "imperfeito" depends on context and the type of verb used. Both the "simple past" or the semi-modal "used to" work because "understand" is a stative verb.

Different from the Portuguese "pretérito perfeito", the "simple past" in English describes both repetitive actions and past habits as well as long-term and short-term events. It's the most used tense to reference the past in English.


Isn't "She used not to understand my English" correct? Now, of course, I am much better and she understands all of the time....


Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that "She was not understanding my English" is a better translation to "Ela não entendia meu inglês" (idea of continuity in the past).


That is a literal translation but "to understand" is a stative verb, one which describes a state rather than an action, and it is not normally used in a continuous tense. Duolingo's answer is best.


I can easily imagine telling a story about running into some kind of trouble because someone just "was not understanding my english." What, by this logic, would be the appropriate construction for that case?


Do you mean how would "was not understanding my English" be expressed in Portuguese? That's a bit of a trick question for someone who believes "understand" is stative. :-)

I wrote my comment more than two years ago and since then I've learnt (mostly through reading Duolingo discussions) that many native English speakers are happy to use verbs like "understand" in progressive tenses. This item touches on some interesting points about this tendency:


(By the way, as far as I can see, Portuguese doesn't treat verbs considered stative in English in any special way, although I'm hardly an expert.)


You're right! I think not having stative verbs is an advantage. You don't have to say you're “getting to know someone”, you just say “eu estava conhecendo alguém”, for example. Doing the other way around to me is the real challenge...


The spelling of entendia is incorrect, it sounds like entende in the normal speech


The spelling is correct, the pronunciation is incorrect though, since she isn't emphasizing the i like we do in normal speech. We say entendia (just like "dia," as in day.) =]


To me the Duo answer seems more like the perfect past as DID implies that the status of not understanding is finished , ie now she understands. Getting more confused and befuddled as I progress !


When I spoke to her, she didn't understand my English. (simple past in both clauses)

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