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  5. "Volevo salvare le persone."

"Volevo salvare le persone."

Translation:I wanted to save the people.

March 31, 2014



when would we say le persone, and when la gente?


So far as I can tell, they're mostly interchangeable. If one wasn't accepted here, report it here.

However, if you are speaking about a particular group of people, I think le persone us a better choice and if you mean people in general, la gente is better.


Why could this not be "I was wanting to save people," meaning in the past I had this desire, but no more?


In Italian, mental and emotional states in the past are expressed in the imperfect tense or imperfetto. Often, using the passato prossimo or passato remoto will yield a grammatical sentence but with a different meaning.

imperfetto: Lei non voleva andare. = She did not want to go.
passato remoto: Lei non volle andare. = She refused to go.

English is more flexible about the tenses (or aspects) of verbs expressing feelings or states of mind. The simple past is more common with such verbs, but the past continuous is also possible.

Lei era triste. = She was sad. = She felt sad. = She was feeling sad.

In the case of the topic sentence of this page, "I wanted" is more natural because "I was wanting" is rarely used.

Note: Prescriptivists will sometimes claim that so-called stative verbs should not or cannot be used in the progressive. That is mostly oversimplification. The stative/active distinction is not so clear-cut in English, and most such verbs are often used in the active aspect by native speakers.


Very helpful, thank you!


Why was it me and not you or him or her in this sentence who wanted to save the people ?


The conjugation of the verb "volere" indicates that the subject is "io."

The imperfect of "volere" is

  • io volevo
  • tu volevi
  • lui; lei voleva
  • noi volevamo
  • voi volevate
  • loro volevano


What is wrong with "I was wanting to"' as a translation of "volevo" ? They are both the imperfect tense


See my reply to Dcarl1, above.


I suppose that it is because want here is a modal helpverb, and therefore not an 'action-verb' in the same way, needing continuous tense. Want can also mean 'to lack' (a shortage of sth). When I hear I was wanting I start wondering 'what was missing', rather than what I was wishing for.


I second your query. It is a continuous past. "Wanted" is not, it is perfect. Sounds better in English but technically wrong?


Volevo sounded like voglio in the audio


Sounds like a line out of Lightning Returns.


I was going to say "I wanted to save the persons.", but wasn't brave enough. You know elevators hold persons.

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