"She put the coat on when she saw how cold it was outside."
Translation:Ea și-a pus paltonul pe ea când a văzut cât de frig este afară.
I am guessing that și here is a pronoun for coat. Is that correct? I have never seen this pronoun before used like this. I would be grateful if anyone could kindly clarify this extra și here.
The "și-" here is a (mandatory) past tense contraction of the pronoun "își". It expresses the fact that the coat is her own coat. In my opinion, there are slight inaccuracies in the translation. Here's what I think is most accurate, maybe it will help you:
- Ea și-a pus paltonul pe ea. = She put her coat on.
- Ea a pus paltonul pe ea. = She put the coat on.
You will find this type of phrasing things quite often in Romanian.
Here are more examples in the present tense:
- Eu îmi repar mașina. = I am fixing my car.
- Tu îți plimbi câinele. = You are walking your dog.
- Ea își vopsește unghiile. = She is painting her fingernails.
- Noi ne iubim părinții. = We love our parents.
- Voi vă practicați meseriile. = You are practising your professions.
- Ei își caută copilul = They are looking for their child.
The following should be fine:
"Ea și-a pus paltonul pe ea când a văzut cât de frig era afară".
Notice that I used the imperfect "era", because it fits well in this situation, while the perfect compus "a fost" doesn't sound right. The imperfect is actually the matching tense for the past continuous in English.