Very good for English people learning Italian, not the opposite... Why, for instance, "I miei genitori vogliono che io impari il tedesco - My parents want me to learn German " (similar to the Latin accusative +infinitive) but "(Noi) insistiamo che (voi) mangiate qualcosa" - We insist that you eat something"? Is "we insist you to eat" possible? Thanks!
No, no one British would say "We insist you to eat", though "We insist you eat", and "we insist that you eat" are both correct. You could say "We forbid you to eat", "We prefer you to eat", but not "We hope you to eat". I don't know whether there is a grammatical rule which would tell you with which verbs you can use the infinitive in the dependent clause.
Perhaps a more accurate English translation would be, "I thought you offered me a coffee." I'm wondering how widely the subjunctive is used - I understand the explanations for it's existence - but when on the spot in a real situation, I'd be more likely to say, "Credevo mi hai offerto un caffe," and even if it wasn't perfect grammar, it would certainly be understood, which I think is better than standing silently for several minutes while I rack my brain for the subjunctive. Sorry for the rave! PS. We say 'a coffee' here in New Zealand too.
Nobody forces you to use subjunctive, but if you want to be understood it will be better - The sentence you wrote doesn't mean anything in Italian. Maybe with the "indicativo imperfetto" it is ungrammatical but comprehensible - Anyway you have to study, because subjunctive is the right way and normally used in Italian language.
Thanks for that. I am studying the subjunctive and will keep trying - but it is a tricky one for English speakers!! I have found that in conversation I am generally forgiven for my grammatical errors - and I truly believe it's better to make an attempt than to be silent, as Italians are generally quite appreciative and helpful.
I agree, of course it's better to try than be silent! We Italians always forgive foreign people (and frequently also ignorant natives) for grammatical errors if we can understand what you mean, but not always is so easy. Sometimes you have to try again and change your sentence to be clearer. Studying subjunctive is about practice, only using it can become natural.
Technically you cannot quantify coffee/liquid by itself. It needs to be in a container. Without the container you wouldn't know the volume thus not knowing said quantity; "a coffee" could be anything i.e. a thimble full or a tub full, no way of knowing. You can say a cup of coffee or "some" coffee (which denotes an uncertain amount).
The thing that's driving me nuts about subjunctive isn't so much that it's difficult, but that Duo is so arbitrary about what a correct answer is. There have been so many exercises where translating into the English subjunctive "were" would have brought sentence-sense much more into line with the sense of the Italian - but that's not what Duo gave as a first answer. Instead, Duo presented English simple past or even present as the "answer".
Perhaps the problem is that, in English we often add an "it" coupled with "if" to a sentence with a subjunctive subordinate clause, when the Italian link is simply che: "I would like it if you were to give me all your money." Since there is no "it" in the Italian, I haven't seen this construction as an English translation, though I think it often would be the best translation.
In any event, here Duo is using "were" when that word has been so assiduously avoided before.
This is imperfect (subjunctive tense), so it is used to refer to habitual or repeated actions in the past. So I would say that's more like "You were offering" or "You used to offer" depending on context, but "You offered" is not necessarily wrong - you would be trying to convey a sense that coffee was always on offer. You would have to know the context to know what the best translation would be. All these could be translated as "tu mi offrissi": "When you held up the coffee pot, I thought you were offering me a coffee." "When I was a kid, you used to offer me a coffee." "Every time I came over, you offered me a coffee."
I'm sorry, but it isn't exactly how you wrote. The imperfect subjunctive doesn't work like the indicative, and it is not always used to mean a repeated or habitual action, it depends from the context. In fact, in this case, it's much more probably that the action happened only once - or better didn't happen (You didn't offer to him the coffee, that day). Unless you add, e.g. "Credevo mi offrissi un caffé ogni giorno". But you have to specify. (I'm Italian)
Thanks so much for commenting. It's very helpful to get information from native speakers. The first sentence I wrote is how my Italian grammar book describes Imperfect subjunctive - but of course, a grammar book is not real life. Anyway, what we are both saying is that it's hard to know exactly how best to translate the verb tense into English without knowing the context of this sentence. Would you say that the three examples I wrote in English (the last 3 sen tences) would use the imperfect subjunctive verb tense in Italian?
Of course I also appreciate suggestions from native speakers. See, what you wrote above about imperfect isn't wrong, but it not always works. And you can rightly understand the meaning from the contest, but also from experience about everyday language. And for this I can say that this sentence, without additions, refers to an only event, because I can easily position this sentence in an Italian context. But it's really very difficult to explain the undertones of meaning.
About your examples:
"When you held up the coffee pot, I thought you were offering me a coffee." - You can translate "Quando tenevi in mano la caffettiera, pensavo mi offrissi un caffè" - But this can be better translated with "pensavo mi avresti offerto un caffè", because it can be considered a future in the past (I don't know if you still ran into the past conditional used this way). Actually the sentence in question is very used as polite form for requests in the present. e.g. I have come in your home, but you haven't offered me anything yet. So I say "pensavo mi offrissi un caffè" - It's a way to say "I would like you to offer me a coffee". I hope it won't confuse you about the subjunctive imperfect, but in Italy you can often hear this phrase used in this way.
Your second example "When I was a kid, you used to offer me a coffee" doesn't need the subjunctive. It is "Quando ero bambino, mi offrivi il caffè". But I can give you this other "Pensavo che quando lei andava a casa sua, lui le offrisse il caffè" = "I thought that when she went at his home, he used to offer her coffee" - It doesn't work with the first singular person (pensavo) becase you know what happened to you, so you can have a theory and can't use the subjunctive.
The last, "Every time I came over, you offered me a coffee", also doesn't need the subjunctive, but not even necessarily the imperfect. It can be either "Ogni volta che passavo a trovarti, mi offrivi un caffè" or "Ogni volta che sono passato a trovarti, mi hai offerto un caffè".
Per completare quest'unità 42 tentativi. Vi sembra normale? Non c'è una spiegazione degna di questo nome, per fare il condizionale ti fa usare un po' il verbo all'infinito, un po' al presente, un po' al passato (o se il verbo è irregolare il 2°paradigma ma sempre passato è)o a volte la forma -ing. Alla fine di questa unità uno ha una gran confusione in testa e non ha affatto imparato la forma verbale. Io personalmente faccio questi corsi per potenziare le mie conoscenze linguistiche, ma se nessuno e niente spiega bene come faccio ad imparare? Cosa faccio tiro la monetina per scrivere la corretta forma verbale? Personalmente continuerò a riempire le chat di questi miei messaggi fino a che non otterrò una risposta soddisfacente. E non un semplice "no la frase è giusta".