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  5. "Meus pais queriam beber vinh…

"Meus pais queriam beber vinho."

Translation:My parents wanted to drink wine.

March 4, 2014



here I said, "My parents would like to drink wine" following the discussion where it was pointed out that imperfect can mean the same as conditional sometimes. Is that wrong here?


Would like is better translated with "gostariam". (It's a tense we call future of the past).

Would you like a cup of coffee? = Vocês gostariam de uma xícara de café??

Queriam can be used like that, but it's not good, as baarreth said. It really makes us think "I wanted and don't want anymore".


I have a doubt of this kind (I am brazilian). Lets see if we help each other.

When I listen: "Meus pais queriam beber vinho", I can continue naturally in my mind: "e agora não querem mais". This is the meaning of the "pretérito imperfeito": something that started in the past, took some time and it is over now (like a movie). So, if you want to say that they still want to drink, you must be clear by expanding the phrase: "Meus pais queriam beber vinho e ainda querem!"

When I listen the "pretérito perfeito" form: "Meus pais quiseram beber vinho", I cannot continue the phrase in my mind. This is the meaning of the "pretérito perfeito": it was just a point in the past... a single event. It was over just after it started.

But today I found that "sempre" can change the meaning of the "pretérito perfeito". If you say: "Meus pais sempre quiseram beber vinho", I can continue naturally in my mind: "e ainda querem". So the event started in the past, and it is not finished yet. Could this correspond to present perfect? "My parents have always wanted to drink wine"? Does this phrase make sense to you?

My impression with "My parents would like to drink wine" is that they just started to want and they still want to drink it (is it right?). If so, it does not correspond to any of the previous portuguese phrases.


So your first paragraph suggests the English equivalent "My parents wanted wine" (earlier, but they've changed their minds) or "My parents wanted (asked for) wine," (but haven't got any yet--the waiter forgot the order). The second meaning, with sempre sounds like "My parents have always wanted wine." That's awkward, because wanting is a an action that has a beginning and an end, so it would mean they never got any. Think of "My parents have always wanted their own house" (meaning they still want and don't have one). It's unlike, say "like." "My parents have always liked wine" is perfectly natural, and they still do. Past tense, "My parents always wanted a house" or "My parents always liked wine," suggests it's over. Either they got a house at some time in the past or are deceased. If they are alive and simply changed their minds, we would say "My parents always used to want their own house" or "my parents always used to like wine."


Thank you for your feedback! But I am a bit frustrated now... I thought I finally had found some clear pattern/rule between "sempre"+"pretérito perfeito" and present perfect! You brought me the fact that the verb can change the context itself... making the thing much more "non-linear" (in a mathematics sense). Note that, at least for me (and in portuguese), I don't feel that "querer" has a beggining and an end!

Also, taking your impressions, "My parents wanted wine" is better transtated to "Meus pais quiseram beber vinho" (pretérito perfeito), since the imperfect tense "Meus pais queriam beber vinho", even being right, due to the colloquial usage, could bring small doubts if they still want it. It is common in Brazil to ask for something to the waiter saying: "Amigo, eu queria...". More formal (and annoying) people replies: "Você queria? Então não quer mais?" (stupid, but common joke, because the client obviouly still wants).

Still based on your impressions, "My parents have always liked wine" is better translated to "Meus pais sempre gostaram de vinho" (sempre + pretérito perfeito).

Also, it is good to be sure that both past tenses suggest "it is over"! Thank you again!

Finally, "My parents always used to want their own house" and "my parents always used to like wine", if translated literally to portuguese are really weird: "Meus pais sempre costumavam querer sua própria casa" and "Meus pais sempre costumavam gostar de vinho" (you will never hear that in portuguese).

As far you made clear that these events are over, I believe they should be translated to the "pretérito imperfeito do indicativo": "Meus pais queriam sua própria casa" and "Meus pais gostavam de vinho". It doesn't matter if they are dead, if they got the house, or if they simply changed their minds. But note that "queriam" still bring small doubts (due to the informal usage)...


Literal translation or seeking making one-to-one correspondences between an English tense form and that of another language is hopeless. Forget costumar as a translation for "used to" in every case. It is most often just a more intensive past tense carrying the meaning that whatever the action or state in the past, it is finished. In other words, we would use "used to" naturally in a lot of instances where you would just have a preterit or imperfect. Every language's tense/aspect system is different, and different forms do not overlap neatly.

My endeavor is to look at portuguese sentences one at a time and discern how the tenses work. For English, I could draw you a graph to show the differences among our tenses, that is how our system works.

It's very different since English (a Germanic language) has only two tenses, past and non-past. All other nuances of time are conveyed through phrasal constructions that include modals. Romance languages have five real conjugated tenses, so the whole system is very different.


Nice explanation. However i think pretérito perfeito is the finished action (like your good example of a movie), and pretériro imperfeito is for an unfinished action. (i.e. just reversed). See https://www.duolingo.com/comment/1483888/Portuguese-tenses-what-do-they-mean


"My parents would want to drink wine" is incorrect? I was thinking about a situation where my parents both had already passed away. "My parents would want to drink wine on evenings like this, had they still been alive."


I don't understand why this translation is wrong: My parents used to want to drink wine. How else would one say that without using costumar?

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