I think it's more probable that this sentence comes from a tale, like "cappuccetto rosso" ("little red riding hood") for example, and in this case it isn't a habit or repeated action. In my opinion the past continuous is the best solution. Of course I can't exclude other solutions, but you have to show a valid context.
It is a very likely explanation, but where the sentence fails is.,that in using the imperfect tense, one of its uses is, that something was happening in the past when something else happened. So using this condition it would be clear in its use as:- the wolf was coming from the street when the gamekeeper saw it and shot it. 'Used to come from the street etc etc',using the same condition would also be legitimate here, too.
Then, what is absurd about the sentence?
If you told a fairytale containing that sentence, nobody would think the sentence were absurd. Because it’s so short and simple, it seems very likely to have been pronounced already in the big world outside Duolingo. As wolves more and more often trot through inhabited areas in present-day Italy, it can be considered an every-day language example, whether it has been used or not. Nevertheless, we are saying things all the time that no one has ever heard before (ask Chomsky for deeper details).
Maybe the driver has said this very sentence to the police and to many other people—or maybe he's saying it right now—when describing the accident in Pontetaro the day before yesterday:
Literally it'd traslate into: "Il lupo usava arrivare dalla strada" Actually I'm not really into those grammar stuff, but I guess that:
-"usava arrivare/venire" is used to refer to something that happened in the past quite regularly
-"veniva" is used for example when you have to tell an episode to someone
I disagree with you. "Usare fare qualcosa" is absolutely not dialectical. Maybe you can hear that only in certain important contexts and it could seem a bit pompous, but it is perfect Italian and it has exactly the same meaning of "used to". Here some evidences: http://dizionari.corriere.it/dizionario_italiano/U/usare.shtml http://www.treccani.it/vocabolario/usare/
I don't think so. The examples on the links I put above seem to me absolutely current. (e.g. "I Romani usavano tributare ai loro imperatori onori divini" - "Romans used to do divine honors to their emperors" - is typical of a history book). And also on the dictionaries they usually add a note when a word or an expression is outdated.
Most Likely the wolf was coming down the street, unless of course the wolf had spent some time in the street, which is highly unlikely, but not impossible. perhaps he was going door to door selling cookies or something. If it had been a child coming from the street it would mean the child was homeless and had been living outside , thus if offered shelter the child would have been coming from the street ( an idiomatic expression)
I thought the best English translation would be "was coming down the street", but I answered "was coming from the street" because I thought that answer would be more likely to be accepted.
There's an underlying problem to DL in that people try to avoid having their answer marked wrong, so they may not use the most natural English expression. Sadly when people learning English see these suboptimal translations, they think that this is how English speakers would express themselves.
Here’s a real-world-sentence instead: “E' questa la tragica fine di un lupo che nella serata di ieri si trovava in strada, lungo la via Emilia, all'altezza di Pontetaro.“—According to Parma Today, the day before yesterday. Was this one a better sentence—just because you can find it on the Web? Why that? There’s an infinite number of possible sentences in every human language, and every day we say things nobody ever heard before. “Il lupo veniva alla strada” is so simple, though... it has most probably been pronounced many times before Duo even thought the thought!
The wolf was coming from the street to a yard where chickens could be found. The wolf was coming from the street when it saw a cat. The cat did not see the wolf that was coming from the street. A German Shepherd was guarding the yard and saw the wolf coming from the street. I think it really was crossing the street because it wanted to get to the other side!!
"The wolf was coming / came / used to come / would come from the street" are all possible translations for the Italian sentence. It depends from the meaning of the phrase and you need the context for understand. If I add, e.g. "Ogni sera il lupo arrivava dalla strada", of course "would come" is right and "was coming" wrong.
I think the answer yes. That construction in English is a conditional tense, while in Italian we are learning simple past, I have not yet arrived to that part of the tree, but in French and Spanish, both very related to Italian.
There is a difference between:
The wolf would come (Fr: le loup viendrait / Sp El lobo vendría) vs:
The wolf was coming/came (Fr: Le loup est venu/venait / Sp. El lobo venía/vino)
I hope this helps
Thanks, MardukSky. I do see what you mean about the conditional. But there is also an English usage of "would" that implies a habitual behavior, such as the "The child's parents would always read him a bedtime story." If the wolf came every evening from the street, them maybe this would work here? But yeah, if we're to keep our "would's" in Duolingo to the conditional, then I'll do that :-)
Ok, American English speaker here... how do you conclude came from of coming from the street? I am confused here. I got The wolf was by the street, which was marked as wrong, but did not anticipate came from or coming from to be included. Could someone explain please? Thanks!
The verb venire - from which veniva (the imperfect tense) derives - means "to come". So you need to translate this sentence with an English form of "come" - hence, the wolf was coming from the street. "The wolf was by the street" has an entirely different (though not very clear) meaning, and would be something like "il lupo era sulla strada" or "il lupo era accanto alla strada".
I put, "The wolf came from the street" and was marked correct. I had been marked incorrect for translating an earlier sentence, "He was wanting to eat." The above answer, or 'the wolf used to come from the street', is correct, because if it were not a continuing/indefinite state of affairs the present perfect would be correct.
The use of "gerunds" in this section is probably confusing everyone more than it is helping them.
If the English sentence was, "The wolf came from the street." then that reinforces the past tense, shows the use of the word was, and eliminates the gerund "coming".
And because if it was in the gerund section, we'd be expected to use stava venendo, and not "veniva", on its own!
I completely agree with you jaye, though I notice that 'coming' is the 'gerund conjugation' of the verb, just as venendo is the 'gerundio' form of the Italian verb. The gerund form of the verb is used in various cases, two of which are the gerund and the continuous present.
So, perhaps some of my past confusion in conversations has been caused by the definition of gerund .. Whether the term is being used loosely to only mean the '-ing' form of the verb (in English), or whether it is being used to discuss the function of the verb, in which case gerund is much more specific.
Are there notes I should be reading rather than “just” doing the exercises? In particular, I cannot imagine a case where I would use “was coming” in a stand-alone sentence, without a lot of context. E.g. the other person said, something like “the wolf was standing still.” “No, the wolf was coming from the street.” Otherwise it seems that in English we would use the simple past, ”the wolf came from the street.” Is the past imperfect more common in Italian than in English?