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"Se i poliziotti ti hanno visto ti avranno seguito."

Translation:If the police officers saw you they must have followed you.

March 11, 2014

33 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gordon_gregory

I am coming to dislike this sentence, it sounds wrong both in Italian and English. Surely it should be "If the policemen saw you they WOULD have followed you" and thus "Se i poliziotti ti hanno visto ti AVREBBERO seguito.". Thoughts?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Biomax

I can't say much about english conditional clauses so I won't discuss about them. As for the italian phrases (DL's one and yours):

"Se i poliziotti ti hanno visto ti avranno seguito" makes perfect sense. It means that if they saw you then they will inevitably and certainly have followed you.

"Se i poliziotti ti hanno visto ti avrebbero seguito" is wrong. It should be "Se i poliziotti ti avessero visto ( past perfect subjunctive) ti avrebbero seguito". It means that if they had seen you then they would have certainly followed you BUT since they didn't follow you then it means they never saw you.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sapolion

I think you are right about the English! I am starting to get the feeling that Italian simply has tenses and concepts that don't translate into English. As you correctly noticed, in English, "If the police see you, they will follow you" - antecedent in the present conditional in the future. or "If the police saw you, they would have followed you" - antecedent in the past, and counterfactual consequent also in the past.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RandomWill

And in English - In Scotland we say "You will have had your tea" - i.e. I assume that you have eaten. This is a not a counterfactual nor really a factual, but rather a supposition, or as GregHullender says, it's about conjecture. And although it doesn't fit neatly into the standard scheme of English conditionals (especially 1st, 2nd, 3rd), that doesn't make the English version wrong. Here we could translate it as 'If the police saw you, they will (probably) have followed you.'

Other examples - "If he didn't get back to you, (it means) he will (probably) have forgotten about it", "If they told him it was valuable, he will (no doubt) have taken out insurance", "If she got back yesterday, (I imagine) she will have started work on the report already." "If that's what you said to her, she won't have been very happy."

Note that all these uses of the future refer to the past, just like other perfect modals are used to make conjectures about the past - "He can't have known, she must have been upset, you could have been killed."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zimtladen

Exactly right. The only part I would tweak is where in some of RandomWIll's examples he has "(probably)", I would instead say "(surely)", since the conjectural sense of "must have" is (surely!) a bit more than probable.

So the English is fine, and cannot be replaced by the conditional tense any more than it can in Italian: Biomax's post above is also exactly right.

In summary the following two sentences mean very different things, and both languages have the means to express them:

If they saw you they must have followed you ("Se ti hanno visto ti avranno seguito")

Here it is implicit that this did happen in reality: they DID see you, and therefore they HAVE followed you (and may be about to burst in here and arrest us at any moment). The two events (their seeing you and their following you) are tightly causally connected, and the question of whether they occurred refers not to mere possibilities, but to the actual past.

If they had seen you they would have followed you ("Se ti avessero visto ti avrebbero seguito")

This is a statement not about what actually happened, but about what might have done, and expresses a constraint on any possible sequence of events: IF one, THEN the other. In any possible world in which they saw you, in that world they then followed you too. But there is no implication here that in the actual world, any of this really happened. The sentence might even be used as part of an argument that it did not: "If they had seen you then they would have followed you. But evidently they did not follow you, so therefore they cannot have seen you after all".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RoslynJS

Excellent examples from RandomWill. Seems like "zero conditional" tense: ('If you heat ice it will melt' - if or every time, or whenever you do it i.e. probability = 100%.) Same as 'If there's no beer in the fridge, Dad must have drunk it all' = near enough to 100% probability, (because Mum & the kids don't drink it!)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gordon_gregory

Thanks sapolion, you explain it very well


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LindaNordin

Yes! I do not understand this Italian tense at all.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LindaNordin

I said EXACTLY that! If the policemen saw you they would have followed you. Marked of course...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GregHullender

If we assume this is the Conjectural Future Tense, then we can translate it as "If the police saw you, they must have followed you" and it makes better sense.

Note that this isn't the same as the conditional "If the police had seen you, they would have followed you," which I think would be Se i poliziotti ti avessero visto, ti avrebbero seguito.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/russodo

I'm glad I have company. This section has to be one of the hardest. My only hope is to memorize answers that frequently don't make sense to me in English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/donna_bruno

I keep reminding myself to think like an Italian, not an American, for these exercises. Anyone else agree?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kapinny

Is it just me? "Se i" sounds identical to "sei" here.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZuMako8_Momo

The «e» sounds are different in those two phrases. In the word «se», it is a more closed «e» sound, similar to the "i" in "if;" in IPA, it would be [e]. The word «sei», on the other hand, is a more open «e» sound, somewhere between the "e" sound in "bed" and the "a" sound in "apple;" in IPA, it would be [ɛ], but there is no equivalent in American English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sivo64

In English we most definitely say, "...would have followed you" if they saw you.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RoslynJS

We can use "would", Sivo64. However, it depends on the degree of ability for modal verbs, some are listed below in increasing probability:

might, may, could, can, should, would, will, must & have to.

Try substituting any one of the above instead of "would" in the sentence to see the difference.
As native English speakers, we just "know" what sounds right. I only learned the grammar as a volunteer ESOL teacher, so that I could explain it to my students. :-)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZuMako8_Momo

That would have to be, "If the police had seen you, they would have followed you."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alfanut

'If the police have seen you they will have followed you' is lousy English and makes no sense. 'If the police had seen you they would have followed you' (although these are different verb tenses than are covered in this section) makes more sense and is grammatically correct English. I think DL should revise this sentence and/or move it to a more appropriate section. And I agree with all the other comments here... This is a difficult section to learn and many of the sentence constructions are truly weird - in both Italian and English!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ZuMako8_Momo

SEguito o seGUIto?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GeoffreyWh1

You're right about the English version , though, GG


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gordon_gregory

Thanks for the endorsement!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/osarpas

I believe the first half of the sentence should include 'had' for past perfect (if the policemen had seen you) to indicate a possible event in the past that hasn't happened, so that it matches with the tense of the second half.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/blasius87

So you can use the past indicative with Se? because in Spanish the past indicative never goes with "if" since it is always conjecture in the past and therefore you MUST use the subjunctive. as a Spanish speaker se + past indicative looks so wrong.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LindaNordin

What about: If the policemen saw you they will have followed you. ? This too was marked wrong...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RoslynJS

Seems correct to me. Report it via flag.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Horatio_D

"They must have" indicates to me an existing state and so the sentence does not make sense in English. "They must have been by chance walking behind you" or "they must have been on patrol at the time" would make more sense but this is not what the Italian sentence is saying. "They will have" or "they would have" suggests a subsequent action and is better than "they must have".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Arnoldus2

What a complicated sentences and how unnatural they seem to me!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mab862447

This sentence does not make any sense. Does it want to be a conditional sentence? If yes, it is absolutely false in English. I do not know if the Italian sentence is correct because I have never learnt conditional in Italian.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zimtladen

No, it is not a conditional sentence. I have attempted to explain the difference above. (With what success, I cannot say....)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SteveKillick

if the police had seen you they would have followed you is marked wrongg but, surely, in English means eaxactly the same as if the police saw you?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zimtladen

See eg my explanation above for the difference.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SteveKillick

Sadly I cannot find it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zimtladen

Here is the key part. We have to distinguish between two sentences, which, while similar in construction, use different tenses and consequently mean quite different things.

If they saw you they must have followed you ("Se ti hanno visto ti avranno seguito")

Here it is implicit that this did happen in reality: they DID see you, and therefore they HAVE followed you (and may be about to burst in here and arrest us at any moment). The two events (their seeing you and their following you) are tightly causally connected, and the question of whether they occurred refers not to mere possibilities, but to the actual past.

If they had seen you they would have followed you ("Se ti avessero visto ti avrebbero seguito")

This is a statement not about what actually happened, but about what might have done, and expresses a constraint on any possible sequence of events: IF one, THEN the other. In any possible world in which they saw you, in that world they then followed you too. But there is no implication here that in the actual world, any of this really happened. The sentence might even be used as part of an argument that it did not: "If they had seen you then they would have followed you. But evidently they did not follow you, so therefore they cannot have seen you after all".

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