1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Italian
  4. >
  5. "He has taken us to the zoo."

"He has taken us to the zoo."

Translation:Lui ci ha portate allo zoo.

February 27, 2013



I don't understand why "Lui ci ha portatE allo zoo" is correct instead of "Lui ci ha portatO allo zoo."

EDIT: Like f.formica pointed out "portate, portati and portato" should all be correct. This is because of direct object agreement: http://goo.gl/fxU68G At the end in this link it explains how portato is possible because the agreement is optional for direct object pronouns mi,ti,vi and ci.

  • portate: means that those that he has taken are all females.
  • portati: all males or a mixed group of males and females.
  • portato: doesn't give us any information about the gender of "ci" (it could mean any of those previously mentioned), therefore it is not specific enough but it is still correct.

  • 2660

Both "lui ci ha portate allo zoo" and "lui ci ha portati allo zoo" should be correct; "lui ci ha portato allo zoo" works as well but it's frowned upon by some Italian grammars.


Strangely, portati is wrong :/


Finally someone has said that rule about not needing agreement when the pronoun isn't "li/le". I've stopped making my answers follow that rule recently because I've accepted that DL only marks those answers correct in a handful of questions.


Because "us" in this case is both plural and feminine? That's my theory.


I believe that portati means us either all male or both male and female and portate means us females.


But don't you have to always use "o" in the end when you form it with avere?


normally, yes, but in these cases it's to give information about gender referred to. See above - Dnovinc


i don't understand it either. why portatE, even if its plural.. i thought avere don't agree with singular, plural, male or female..


That is correct for the subject. When you use avere you don't agree with the subject. However you do agree with the object.


If the direct object is one of the four clitics lo, la, li, le then the participle must agree with it. If the direct object is any other clitic, then the participle may agree with it. If the object is a noun phrase, then the participle does not agree with it, although you might see this happen in old texts. And it never agrees with indirect objects, even if the clitic is le.


Exactly! Just what I was going to say! ....or not... Clear as mud, this is, for me. (Do not copy that (lack of) grammar, non-natives!) I keep thinking I have agreement sorted out, and then somebody tosses in nasty things like 'dative' and 'might'.


Grin. Okay, then here's the quick-and-dirty explanation:

When you're reading, you don't care if the participle agrees with anything. All you care about is what you have to write/say. So ignore the optional stuff and the old stuff.

The rule for avere is that if it has a la lo li or le in front of it, the participle has to agree with it. Otherwise leave the participle alone. For example:

L'ho visto is "I saw him" and L'ho vista is "I saw her" and Li ho visti is "I saw them" and Le ho viste is "I saw them girls." (Okay, "them girls" is a bit substandard, but I said "quick and dirty.") :-)

The only exception is that if le doesn't mean "them girls" then this rule does not apply. E.g. Le ho detto un racconto "I told her a story".

Is that better?


It is. And given another 39 or so repetitions, I might even have some of it sink in beyond the "I get it when I concentrate hard, hold my tongue just right, and also on the second Tuesday of each week" stage. I was with Moomingirl when they taught grammar, and THAT was of the English type in my case. Nothing like learning another language to prove how poorly you know your own.


I like your quick-and-dirty explanations. ;)

The in-depth ones sometimes sail straight over my head. I don't know where I was on the day they taught grammar, but it obviously wasn't at school.


Thanks a lot for the examples, it always helps.


I'll give you another example: I have eaten a pizza. Io l'ho mangiata tutta. Even though the verb 'mangiare' goes with avere, since 'l'ho' (la ho) is replacing 'pizza' that is femmenine, you must use a femmenine in the main verb.


Agree. Thats what I learned also.


why is "Lui ci ha preso allo zoo" wrong. That's the 1st hint they give and the most literal translation in English of 'ha preso' = he has taken

  • 2660

That would mean "He has taken us at the zoo".


Take them at the zoo? In prigione dopo!


I agree. The meanings seem nuanced but can make a lot of difference - rather like 'bring', 'fetch', take' etc in English


and yet "ha portate allo" means 'to' the zoo? Huh?

  • 2660

Yes. Prepositions don't directly translate. Portare implies movement (to bring, to carry), while prendere indicates a static act (to catch, to pick up).


Thx, I've been trying to wrap my head around prendere=to take and portare=to carry/bring. I finally understand that "Voglio prendere il mio amico all'aeroporto" can only mean I'm planning on picking him up (at that place) and never that I'm taking him there!!! Guess, I'll just have to get used to the idea that you can 'carry' (portare) a lot more than just things you can literally carry! ;-)


I just got it! Thanks to your explanation. It's the old "take from" and "bring to". Here's a lingot. :)


Ok I see why prendere is wrong in this context although it is very unhelpful when they offer that as the most likely hint. Thanks


Why are we using ha (avere) in this sentence? I read earlier that anything describing motion must use 'essere' instead. 'Taken us' involves motion, so now I'm really confused!


The motion thing is a bit of a red herring. I used avere for default, and learned the exceptions. Some are listed here: http://www.oneworlditaliano.com/english/italian-verbs/essere_as_auxiliary.htm


Thank you! that is just what I needed.


I wondered this as well.


I thought that with verbs indicating movement , one uses the ancillary verb "essere"


my book says that you must make the past participle agree when using avere only with certain object pronouns... it says lo, la, li and le

ci means "us" in this sentence, which is an object pronoun, but it's not on the list I have for agreements!

Anyway, if ci does need agreement and the gender is ambigous, that would be why both portate and portarti could be correct.

  • 2660

The common interpretation is that in presence of a direct object clitic pronoun the past participle should always agree with it, but it's only mandatory for the third persons because they can all potentially be elided to l'; on http://www.accademiadellacrusca.it/it/lingua-italiana/consulenza-linguistica/domande-risposte/accordo-participio-passato the illustrious linguist Luca Serianni argues that a possibility of choice in this case (number 2 in his list) has always existed in Italian, and he doesn't make a special case for the third persons.


Why is "Mi ha portato allo zoo" wrong


I must be missing something, i thought the "ci" in this made it reflexive and therefore should use essere not avere?


He has taken us to the zoo, does not make taken reflexive.

Reflexive verbs at the level I understand it, are things we do to ourselves. So for example, "I was the car", "I wash myself". The former is not reflexive, the latter is. In fact, I could just say "I wash". In Italian, there are verbs that are/aren't reflexive that are/aren't in English, but many are the same.

So using ci, does not of itself, make it reflexive. It just means "us". It's only reflexive if the verb means "we do it to us".

Mi chiamo (I call myself)
Ci sediamo (we sit ourselves)
si sveglia (he wakes himself up)

So of course, also reflexive if it's "i do it to myself", "he does it to himself", etc....


Is it wrong to put ci between auxillary and past paticle ie ha ci portate


Holy ##/^/ each translation is different during the lesson versus the comment section. Portò or portate?


Totally confused because here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/98910 Duolingo uses "portati." I'll post on that place, too, and reference this link.


Because portate indicates plural (us); portati indicates singular (you, fam)?


Dear EDIT: AS f.formica pointed out... Just sayin'...


why are "we " all females in this?


what is wrong with PORTATI?


If the original sentence you got was in English, it should have accepted both "portate" and "portati" as translation because there is no way to know the gender. Report it.


"Egli ci ha portato allo zoo" was the correction I received. What is "egli"?


It also means "he", but its usage is limited to formal written language, mainly literature.


Why not "ci l'ha portate..."


It's difficult, and unnecessary. Sometimes I wonder why I chose to learn Italian in the first place! Feel like always getting it wrong on purpose.


"Lui he ci us ha has portate taken allo to the zoo. zoo"

This is one sentence that almost translates word for word. Clitics seemed crazy at first, and I still get them wrong, but they get better, you know what they are at least, and then past tense seemed crazy, however as you move on, the previous ones suddenly seem ok ;-)


Thank you David for your encouragement! I'll keep persevering. Would help if I knew what all the parts of grammar mean, Italian or English!!!


Ci ha presi allo zoo - a possible answer?


If Essere takes movement why our we using Avere for "take"


it is used here as an auxiliary verb: ha = has, portate = taken


If "portare" implies movement WHY are you using AVERE?


hi there :) sometimes i really want to complete the sentences of the lessons: Lui ci ha portato allo zoo - e ci ha lasciato li, allora non ci incontrera nella prossima lezione :)


I thought prendere was to take, and portare was to bring


Did I miss a rule or something, because I'm not quite sure why 'she gave it to me' is 'me l'ha' but 'he has taken us' is 'lui ci ha'. That is, in one example the person doing the thing is before the person that it's done to, and in the other it's the other way around. Why is that?


The reason portato is wrong is because it needs to agree with the Preceding Direct Object (PDO). This means that if the Direct Object comes before the verb then the past participle must agree with it. In this case the Direct Object 'ci' comes before the verb hence the plural ending. Same rule in French - both languages come from the same root ie Latin


How come avere is used? Surely portare is a motion verb?


Hi John, Yes, you would think it would take 'essere' but there are exceptions to motion words taking 'essere' and this is one of them. There's a good article on the web. If you google 'How to Choose Between 'Avere' and Essere' in the Past Tense', it should take you there.


I am just reading through all the comments to try to clear the fog and came upon MariArzan's comment! Made my morning!

Learn Italian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.