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  5. "Ele disse que precisava de u…

"Ele disse que precisava de uma nova secretária."

Translation:He said he needed a new secretary.

May 27, 2014



Does this sentence imply that he doesn't need a secretary anymore? I'm confused as to how the imperfect in Portuguese differs from the imperfect in Spanish.


This is reported speech (voz passiva), so the most important thing is to match the present in active speech (voz ativa) with the imperfect in reported speech. Whether he still needs a secretary is not relevant because you're talking about something that happened in the past (the main action is "He said").

Voz ativa: Ele, falando para você: - Preciso de uma nova secretária! Voz passiva: Ele disse que precisava de uma nova secretária.

P.S. If you use the pretérito perfeito in the reported speech, that means the person used it in the active speech as well (in that case, the act of needing was clearly long gone).


Would "he used to say that he needed a new secretary" also be a correct translation? If so, it isn't currently accepted.


"Used to" can only be used as a translation of the imperfect (here, ele "dizia" / "costumava dizer"); the verb dizer here is in the preterite (disse).


Can be "secretária" translated "desk" ( it is frequently used in Portugal) despite the type of lesson?


It doesn't have this sense in PTBR.


I understand that the act of saying happened in the past, since pretérito perfeito is used in "ele disse".

After this, I'm a bit confused about how to use different tenses. How would one say the following sentences in Portuguese?

1) He said he needs a new secretary. (need still probably exists)

2) He said he used to need a new secretary. (need didn't exist anymore at the time of saying)

3) He said he was in need of a new secretary. (need existed at the time of saying but not necessarily anymore)

I'm also wondering if the duo-given sentence "He said he needed a new secretary." is equivalent to sentence 2 or 3 or neither? My guess is number three. If that is the case, should the sentence 3 also be accepted as an answer?

Thanks a lot for the answers in advance!


Does this sentence definitely mean 'he' needed .. and not 'I' needed ..?


Yes, it does; you can tell the subject is the same because the verb tense uses the same person (3rd) and the pronoun was omitted from the second clause (that only happens when the subject is the same).

"He said I needed" is "Ele disse que eu precisava" (you need the personal pronoun here to distinguish the two, just like you would if the subject of the second clause was "você", "a gente", "ela", or a different "ele").


Obrigado de novo, Luis. (I try to nail down ambiguities in spoken or written English too). These full explanations must take you a lot of time to do but are really appreciated by me (and many other learners too, I suspect!)


Can anybody explain, the use of 'de' after 'precisar'? Sometimes you don't use it, right?


In Brazilian Portuguese, you always use "de" when the object is not a sentence (doesn't have a verb):

  • Preciso de um carro novo - I need a new car
  • Preciso de dois telefones - I need two telephones
  • Preciso de mais dinheiro - I need more money

But don't use it when the object is a sentence (has a verb):

  • Preciso comer muito = I need to eat a lot
  • Preciso andar mais devagar - I need to walk slower
  • Preciso pensar mais nesse assunto - I need to think more about this matter


Thank you! I never quite got this rule before!


In Brazil: precisar + de + noun / precisar + verb.

In Portugal: precisar + de + noun/verb.


Is there any reason why "He said he needed a new desk" is marked wrong?


If I were thinking about a desk, I'd probably place the adjective after the noun ("secretária nova"), but I'm not sure if there is any grammatical basis for that switch.


These little "language feelings" make all the difference. Obrigado!


I'm trying to understand this verb tense. I wrote, "He said that he used to need a new secretary" and it was incorrect. Why?


Near the top of this page, Luis_Domingos gives a good explanation of why this particular tense is used here.


Why wouldn't "He said that he needed a new office." be accepted?! DL seems to not like adding the word "that" for "que" in translations, but I see no reason why doing so is incorrect and/or should be marked wrong. I'm getting sick of losing hearts over things like this that should be accepted by now given how long this module has been up and running.


Why was "He said THAT he needed a new secretary" marked as wrong? In English "that" is optional here.


Why is it marked wrong for saying says instead of said?


he says = ele diz

In this case, you have past tense.


I noticed in some of these Past Imperfect translations that "would' was used. So, in this translation, could you say: "He said that he would need a new secretary"?


He has said is not correct? I am not a native english or portuguese.. Why is that wrong?


How about "He said he was in need of a new secretary"?


If I wanted to say "He said that he was needing a new secretary." - how would I say that in Portuguese? In English, it has a sense slightly different from "He said he needed a new secretary."


Ele disse que estava precisando(Brasil) /estava a precisar(Portugal) de uma nova secretária.

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