"Ero il primo che arrivava lì."

Translation:I was the first one to arrive there.

May 3, 2013

24 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dwsmith27

How about - I used to be the first to arrive there

February 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/J.Franchomme

I need some help! What about this sentence ?

"I was the first who arrived there."

May 3, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Blomeley

That would more likely be "Sono stato il primo..." because, to me, it sounds like it only happened at one point in time.

I think a good translation might be "I used to be the first one to arrive there". What does everyone else think?

For sure the translation given is uncomfortable english.

May 14, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rompip
  • 2074

I put 'I was the first that arrived there' (which sounded horrible English to me) but DL accepted it.

June 18, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MadelynWri

That's what I put and it was accepted. 14/7/16

July 14, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/darcara

Then how would you say "I used to be the first to arrive there"? That was marked wrong. It is an unusual, but good, English sentence, such as reminiscing about going somewhere

February 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/friswing

Darcara: Good question. Of course we need a native speaker's comment here. But your comment made me realize that there is of course the possibility to say: 'il primo ad arrivare lì', you can construct 'il primo' with an infinitive if we put the particle 'a' in between. The beginning still has to be "Ero", imperfetto, to show that it was a habit. English is so clear with its phrase 'I used to'. If it was not accepted I think you should report it. What I wonder is how an Italian would construct the sentence to be just as clear ?

February 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MarkDeVernon

I am a native speaker, and it is perfectly correct. I, too, was marked wrong.

September 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tommylcarr

It should also accept "get" as an acceptable form of arrivare, but it doesn't.

March 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobertEdwards

why is 'ero il primo arrivare li' wrong, in fact, why is arrivava required at all when ero has already been used?

August 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/cosmopolita61

Because that's past perfect. Past tense isn't as far back. Past perfect is something you do before the past tense

November 3, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BillPapa

Does the sentence imply a series of arrivals, a single arrival, or either?

January 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mjdustin11

I dont understand why arrivava and not arrivare. Why is ero and arrivava conjugated? I thought : Ero e il primo che arrivare que.

January 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/friswing

Ero = I was, begins this sentence that tells us what happened some time in the past (1 week ago, or 1 year ago?). The English has the opportunity to shorten the following subordinate clause,, which the Italians cannot. The first one that arrived = il primo che arrivava, but in English you can also say 'the first one to arrive'. It is the conjunction 'that' = 'che' that initiates the subordinate clause. After 'che' you cannot put the infinitive 'arrivare', you have to conjugate the verb. The English infinitive-phrase has removed 'that'.

Edit: have to add that the italian "arrivava" of course implies 'used to arrive', or a statement of background for something else to happen; but italian does not have this verb-conctruction 'used to' that in English is constructed with an infinitive

January 31, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mwfsicily

Very helpful information. I especially appreciated your pointing out that 'che' initiates the subordinate clause. But my grammar (in all languages) is weak, so could you please explain why one needs a conjugated verb, and not an infinitive, after 'che'? Would an infinitive make the clause independent rather than subordinate? (See what I mean about my grammar ignorance?)

November 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/friswing

But I have to ad that Italian can also omit 'che' if the subject is the same person in both clauses, and use an infinitive-phrase: Ero il primo di arrivare lì. But for Italian infinitive-phrases we have to learn what verbs take what preposition: a, di, da, senza etc (where English have only 'to'), or when to just leave it out.

November 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mwfsicily

This is nice, too. You're making me want to get a much better handle on my grammar.

November 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/friswing

Regrettably, I have no smarter answer than "that's the way it is". Sorry. Italians use this construction, and it could have been used in English as well: *I was the first one that arrived there". Since both 'being the first' and 'arriving' are actions in the past, the verbs are conjugated in past tense in both clauses. English has this tendency to skip it, substitute it with shortened constructions, like infinitives or -ing-forms (gerund) - which is possible if it is the same subject in both clauses. English is kind of 'cheating' out of the problem with verb-conjugations, and at the same time creates something wonderfully 'elegant', making the phrase less clumsy. Italian on the other hand is elegant in the way the verb conjugation often makes the subject superfluous, omitting it makes the phrase shorter.

November 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mwfsicily

Nice reply. Thanks.

November 12, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/antomol

I heard "era il treno che arrivava lì" sound is driving crazy...

March 9, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/milaavdeev

what is the difference between to come and to arrive

October 16, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/friswing

The problem is that DuoLingo never figured it out. It wants Italian 'arrivare' ALWAYS to be English 'arrive', even though it is not in English.

November 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/droginator

This is a bad sentence. Appunto. And DL rarely fixes errors, so just know that this sentence structure isn't one you'd likely hear in Italy. Ever.

August 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LindaNordin

arrivava - had arrived (correct?) I was the first one that had arrived there - I don't know why this is wrong?

October 30, 2014
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