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"Cosa credi che stessi facendo?"

Translation:What do you think I was doing?

April 10, 2014



Shouldn't this translate to 'What do you think >you< were doing?' When the pronoun subject of the subjunctive clause differs from the main clause, does it have to be stated explicitly?


I am not sure of this, but i think in cases in which the pronoun subject is the same in both clauses, we would build the sentence this way: "Che cosa credi di stare facendo?". So, since this is not the way the sentence given is built we would deduce the second pronoun is different from the first.


Yes, I agree. Since writing that comment, I've learned the di + infinitive form when the subject of the main and dependent clause are the same.

Che cosa credi di stare facendo, What do you think you were doing? Cosa credi che stessi facendo, What do you think I was doing?


Wouldn't "che cosa credi di stare facendo?" translate to "what do you think you are doing?" The subjunctive imperfect tense from the second example was replaced with infinitive which doesn't supply any tense, so I would expect you would have to change "credi" to "credevi" to keep the imperfect tense... Though I feel like even then the subjunctive mood is lost... would it be "che cosa credessi di stare facendo" or "che cosa credi di stessi fascendo"???

Man, italian is very confusing.


di stare facendo sounds terribly odd to my ear but I am not sure why. However stare facendo is present whereas stessi facendo is past so they can't be interchangeable


AFAIK "stare facendo" is not present. "io sto facendo" is in the present tense of the indicative mood, "io stia facendo" is in the present tense of the subjunctive mood, "io stessi facendo" is in the imperfect tense of the subjunctive mood and "stare facendo" is an infinitive form.


You is a correct translation and was accepted by DL.


No, it isn’t correct, it being accepted by Duolingo notwithstanding.


Buona domanda! Anch'io vorrei sapere questo.


Imperfect Subjunctive = past tense subjunctive just like Indicative Imperfect. Here, stare is ste-ssi which can be I was (doing gerund of fare) or you were (doing). DL choose I was and so two different subjects : You then I. Had they been the same : You then You : There is a list of conjunctions that always require the subjunctive and there are four that take the subjunctive when the subjects are different. When the same they then take the infinitive , as pointed out previously, as Prima di instead of Prima che = this conjunction means before (somebody's action). Rule is when different subjects Prima che and dependent clause requires subjunctive. When same subjects use Prima di followed by infinitive. Same with senza che = without (somebody's action) : different subjects dependent clause requires subjunctive. Same subjects : senza only followed by infinitive.(no di) Perche' and affinche' both mean so that as conjunction. When different subjects dependent clause requires subjunctive. When same subjects drop Perche' and Affinche' and substitute Per followed by infinitive. Note: double infinitive , the first can drop its "e" - but the infinitive can drop its "e" followed by any word. The other conjunctions that require subjunctive always use subjunctive regardless of subjects. These ,as well as verbs and expressions , that require the subjunctive I hope to list at some time.


i'm a native italian speaker doing this course for fun but why in the vegetalia is it not "Cosa credi che STAVI facendo? " this is what i have said my whole life and it has never been corrected, maybe it's a Sardianian Italian difference.


Do you speak Sardu??


according to the following site, the subjunctive is used when expressing opinions: http://www.unc.edu/~achamble/subjunctive.html



Cosa ne pensa nello mio essempio a far la stessa significa secondo questa domanda cosi ;

Cosa ne pensato che stessi facendo ? Niente affatto !

What in the whole world you think I was doing ?

Per mostrare un po' di fastidio...Niente affatto !


Cosa credi=what do you believe, why not Cosa pensi=what do you think? Please, somebody e xplain.


Credere means both to believe and to think and several other things, see http://www.wordreference.com/iten/credere. Also there is a very helpful discussion on usage of credere here, http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=486821&langid=14


Appreciate the explanation of credere. Hearing so promptly was most helpful and kind!


That wordreference discussion under-delivers a bit. But somewhere out there in the great big internet, there must be a good list of Italian phrases that English speakers tend to get wrong. Some day I will find it.

In wordreference, the Collins tab can be very helpful to intermediate learners since it provides example phrases. Also I recently found reverse.net, see http://context.reverso.net/translation/italian-english/cosa+credi+che.


Wanted to mention context.reverso.net is quite helpful.


There are a lot of Italian phrases you won't find on Duolingo that are colloquial.Naples vs Salerno .French seemed easier..Will check reverse.net. Looking for phrases @www/Italian.net too!


My understanding is that there is no real standard for Italian speech, so there are many variations; I wouldn't expect duolingo to deal with them all.


I don't know why is this tense even made up ...


What does the "stessi" mean in this sentence? myself?


Not exactly; more like "I was". It's the imperfect first person form of the verb "stare"; that is (in this context at least) "to be". (Not to be confused of course with essere which also means "to be", just not quite in the same way. The distinction between these two is arguably the most brain-exploding concept for English speakers to try to get their heads around in their early to middle days in Italian, though it's slowly starting to feel more natural.) Facendo is obviously the gerund form of fare ("to do"). In English, it's the equivalent of "doing". But the question is... who was doing that "doing". The answer is that I was; that is, "stessi (I was) facendo (doing (it))". (I put the "it" in brackets because obviously that comes from the preceding "che", it's just easier to explain if I include it.) Combining the imperfect form of Stare with the gerund of another noun gives you the equivalent of a past progressive tense in English; that is, something that was a continuing action in the past. (In this case. "(what) I was doing".) Like many things in Italian or any other language it will only start to feel natural when you use it enough, and don't have to break it down into gramatical rules as I've done here, but knowing the underlying reason of why expressions are as they are isn't necessarily a bad thing.


Thank you for the very kind explanations!


Shouldn't the translation for this be "what do you thing I am doing?"? Anyhow the longer i think about it, the less it makes sense to me


That would be "cosa credi che stia facendo?"


no, because stessi is a past tense, "I was" or "you were"



Let's say; What were you thinking I was doing (while gone/not here)?

Air is humanguess specially if she tends to cry a lot at his shoulders. (Joke)


Can they get rid of the voice with the soar throat or give him some cough lollies, please. After many continual listenings he sounds like he says crede not credi.


ıt might be: "what do you think that you were doing" in my opinion..


Lost on "stessi" - what is the root word and why is it used here? I must have missed this in the early teachings.


Very helpful! Thank you



Verb Stare Past tenses; State/Stessi

Stessi facendo? = I was doing ?

Cosa ne pensato che (Io) stessi facendo? Niente affatto!

What did you think I was doing ?


question: wouldn't "cosa credi che facessi" also mean "what do you think i was doing?". is the difference the immediate-ness of the action i was doing? like what do you think i was doing in 1987 vs what do you think i was doing in that particular moment?


Chiedere DL; Cosa credi che stessi facendo? Lanciarci una palla in curva


Is it me or does she actually sing the word facendo


Presente: io credo, tu credi. Congiuntivo imperfetto: che io stessi, che tu stessi. Quindi: tu cosa credi che io stessi facendo?


Personal pronouns are usually omitted in Italian, unless there is some ambiguity or the speaker wants to emphasize the pronoun.


In a prior exercise in this section, "fossi" was presented as "I was". Can someone clarify?


how do you differentiate between 1st person 'stessi' and 2nd person 'stessi' without io or ti? This could mean 'What do you think you were doing'


Well, you don't. Like the 3 singular persons in the present subjunctive, they're all alike: as a general rule you should make the subject known, but on a practical level many don't (hence the "general"). It can cause some misunderstandings and subsequent needed clarifying. To avoid all of that, always clarify who's the subject. I don't even understand why it's not an established sound rule, bah.


I agree, but in general it works best to assume that first person was intended unless the context or the presence of a subject pronoun makes it obvious that second or third person was intended. In fact, Italians often insert the subject pronoun if it is anything other than "io".


Yes, generally the "io" wouldn't be expressed but still, it really depends om the situation. In order to avoid any ambiguity or misunderstanding I'd just say to specify it in cases like this. Let's not make grammar unnecessarily harder, it already is what it is and there's no need to remember supplementary things at this stage.


...understood. i agree not to make things harder. I guess until one becomes more proficient having the article 'io' etc would help for understanding. Thanks for your replies. lingots-for-all!!


I'm trying to accept this translation, but I keep coming back to: What did you think I was doing? or What do you think I'm doing?


why can't I use 'believe' - it is credere not pensare


What do you think you were doing? (accepted Mar 2017) Mother to ten-year-old child: What do you think you were doing … when you gave my pearl necklace to Lucy.


good to know it was accepted. Apparently, it wasn't accepted at first.


While grammatically correct no native speaker would ever think this could refer to "you" because we use another form for that, which - as stated in some comments above - is "cosa credi di stare facendo?"


So how does a native speaker say "What do you think I was doing?" ?


'What do you think I was/you were doing?' = cosa pensi che io/tu stessi facendo. 'what do you think I am/you are doing?' = cosa pensi che io/tu stia facendo. Stare facendo is a present tense.



Past tense verbo "Stare", sia state/sia Io stessi facendo? = I was doing ?

Cosa avreste pensato che stessi facendo?

What would you all think (thought) I was doing (while gone for a minute or so) ?

Lanciate la palla dei curve

Throwing you some curva (ball).


This should be called the "atitude tense" since that seems to be its main use ...

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