"चार दिन पहले वह यहाँ खेलती थी।"

Translation:She used to play here four days ago.

July 19, 2018

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Ya here it needs to be the past continuous "she was playing here four days ago." There's a continual aspect to the verb that's lost in translation but you can't use "used to" and "ago" in this manner.


CCanton675 is right to my ears. I suppose, Duo is sticking in "used to" to emphasize action over in the past, but it's the wrong locution. "She played her four days ago" or "She was playing here four days ago." Now you could say "She used to play here four years ago," because "used to" always means habitual ( i.e. "use" = custom) action or a long-term state. It's always an optional equivalent to simple past or (colloquially) "would" + verb with past meaning. It's main purpose is to emphasize a contrast with the present where simple past would be incomplete without some time modifier.


Your sentence is technically incorrect for this particular Hindi translation. The meaning is same, however, in Hindi, your sentence would translate to: "Char din pahele voh yahan khel rahi thi" P.S. a couple of things are not perfectly accurate (eg "voh") as I cannot access my Hindi keyboard at the moment.


Can you please explain to us what precisely the Hindi sentence we're being presented with here means?

  1. That on the day that was four days ago she spent some time playing here?
  2. That on the day that was four days ago she played here on several separate occasions?
  3. That on the day that was for days ago she was actively playing here, and then she did something else?
  4. That up until four days ago she had an ongoing custom of playing here, but as of four days ago, she no longer does (possibly because she is now deceased)?
  5. something else entirely?

If we understand what the Hindi sentence actually means, then those of us for whom the proposed English translation is either quite odd or simply impenetrable can work out what the logical English translation should be for our dialects of English.


I think that the closest would be option 1. By the way, on further reflection, I /do/ agree that the sentence provided by Duo seems to be lacking something, but I believe that the mistake is in the original Hindi composition of the sentence. Thing is, I can't put my finger on what exactly is the mistake. (I am agreeing that the provided sentence sounds awkward)


It means that four days prior to the conversation, you would've said 'she plays here', not just on that day but it was then a habit of hers to play here.

It's lost to ambiguity in any natural (British) English sentence, and it's expressing an idea that I gather seems just as weird and unlikely to be said in Hindi, but Hindi's grammar allows it more readily.

If I were saying it I would definitely at least add more context, e.g. 'until four days ago, she played here' (which is still ambiguous because it could mean that she played non-stop until she keeled over or something (!) but would be understood). But the sentence actually say 'until', we don't know she doesn't still play here too, we just know that four days ago (when we last spoke or whatever) she did.


Not past continuous. That would use रही.

I would translate it simply as:

"She played here 4 days ago."

Also to address some other comments: playing is continuous by nature. You cannot play for 1 second, but you can fire a bullet in 1 second. But playing intrinsically has some duration anyway.


To me the English reads awkwardly because, while there's some overlap, 'used to' implies a repeated event or something that occurred over an extended period of time, eg. 'She used to play here every day until very recently'. For something that happened at a specific point in time, such as 'four days ago', I think you need the simple past or past continuous tense: 'She was playing here four days ago' or 'She played here four days ago'. I could go with something like 'She used to play here (regularly) until four days ago, when her mother stopped her'. But yeah, tense mapping is screwy.


Yes, exactly my point. It doesn't make sense. Habit needs a time period and cannot take place in one fixed time!


I agree. 'Four days ago' is a point in time, not a period of time, so this is like saying 'At 8am this morning she used to play here'. It needs to be either 'she played here' or 'she was playing here', or 'four days ago' needs to be converted into a time period, eg. 'Up until four days ago she used to play here'.

[deactivated user]

    I think a good correction, as you said, would be "(up) until four days ago", because we are being presented an habitual past. Although "at 8am" is fine with the meaning "she used to play here at 8am (every day)", like in "I used to run at 10pm" for example.


    Yes, I realised the 8am issue as soon as I pressed enter, which was why I sneakily edited it to say '8am this morning'. ;)

    [deactivated user]

      I'm faster 8|


      So, we have had a thorough discussion of the problem of using "four days ago" with "used to" in English. It would be lovely if someone who really understood the use of the Hindi could tell us whether this थी form was always frequentative or whether here it could be used to describe a single action, maybe emphasizing that it was ongoing, in an imperfective sense, as "She WAS playing here four days ago."


      This doesn't sound right to me in either English or Hindi. In Hindi, the correct translation should be "char din pehle voh yahan khel rahi thi" which translates to "She was playing here 4 days ago" OR "char din pehle tak voh yahan khelti thi" which translates to "She used to play here 'until' four days ago".


      i want to report that the English translation sounds weird, but when I clicked to report this, there was no option to report this. So here I report that it sounds strange in English.


      That is not a big deal and keep in mind that some of us are not english speakers anyway, so what matters is the real meaning not the perfect translation


      The English is a bit of a nonsense. She played here or she was playing here, but used to with ago is not correct grammar.

      [deactivated user]

        It is disgraceful how 1. you don't have the English right and 2. penalise others for it. Please sort this out; it undermines the reputation of Duolingo as the World's leading language learning app!


        Okay, I'm increasingly convinced that there are some problems here. All the answers are written in the form 'used to', when I'm fairly sure this isn't quite right. I think that they should all be the past tense verbs when translated to english (played, lived, ran, sang, etc.). But I'm not mother tongue Hindi so somebody will have to confirm.


        I'm beginner/intermediate, but my limited understanding is that 'used to' is the standard translation for this construction, and the complete past tense is formed differently: 'He used to run' - वह दौड़ता था vs 'He ran' - वह दौड़ा (and using the 'ne' construction for transitive verbs). But I need a native speaker to clarify this.


        This form is a bit like the imperfect in French (and possibly other languages); I think the reason it insists on "used to" in the translations is it can't refer to a specific situation. So while English "She played here" is ambiguous between "used to" and "at one particular time," वह खेलती थी is unambiguously the imperfect ("used to") one


        Can some one plzz tell me if I wanted to say she played here 4 days ago. Simple past then how should have said it?

        [deactivated user]

          Please change this to the past continuous, it is shocking that you have to unlearn your English whilst you try to learn Hindi!!!


          Why can't this be translated as "4 days before she used to play here"


          Because 'before' (like 'after') requires something that it's in reference to. Before what?

          Your sentence sounds like the end is missing, e.g. '4 days before she played here, she played somewhere else'.


          Why not "Four days ago, She used to play here"


          The construct of the hindi sentence is odd for something that happened 4 days ago. If it was speaking of something that happened long tine ago it would have sounded fine. I think the same oddity is being felt in the english translation. So, instead of 4 days ago, if it was, "ten years back/ago, she used to play here", it would have sounded better


          The several corrections are right. In this sentence, as noted, it has to be "played" or "was playing." I appreciate that Duo may be trying to make the point that थी is past imperfective, but sometimes in English that's expressed by simple past.


          Maybe there was a time-travel mistake and the girl's essential character was altered. Thus, four days ago she used to have a habit of playing here, but now she is a slightly different person and she plays over there instead. Only you, as the time traveler, know that anything is different...


          Would 'she played here four days ago' be a better translation?


          How wah is changed into she.wah means he/she


          But it's khelti thi, so that means the subject is female.


          Isnt 'she was playing here for days ago' correct too?


          No: for has a different meaning to four, and your sentence is continuous, whereas Duo's is imperfect tense.


          This sentence makes no sense in English.


          The answer makes no sense


          Why is it not "Four days earlier, she played here", or "Four days ago, she played here?"


          Also, if it's "She was playing here four days ago," shouldn't it be "Woh char din pehle yahan khelti thi," not "Char din pehle woh yahan khelthi thi?" Also, "four days ago" implies a specific instance in the past rather than a general time period, therefore "used to" cannot be used.


          The trouble is, it's not a grammar that's used in standard dialects of British/American English, so there's not really a good (natural-sounding) way of translating it that tests understanding of the grammar.

          The Hindi is in the habitual aspect, like 'she plays here' (not a single event, a habit), but in the past, hence 'used to play'. But then the problem is that sounds awkward with the time specified in English.

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