"Ero il primo che arrivava lì."

Translation:I was the first one to arrive there.

May 3, 2013

This discussion is locked.


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


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


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 ?


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


I need some help! What about this sentence ?

"I was the first who arrived there."


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


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.


"I used to be" or add 'sempre' for "I was always the first" would make the use of imperfect clearer to me.


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


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


Why is the THIRD person used here? I was the one who arrived, wasn't I?


I was the first who arrived there

-- is how the example has been interpreted, so we are translating 'who arrived' which is third person.

[I think]


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


Yeah, well, Columbus used to say that too.


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


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


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


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


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?)


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.


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


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.


Why does it say arrivava and not arrivavo?


The subjunctive ending is -a also in first person singular.


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


what is the difference between to come and to arrive


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.


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.


the final word is spoken in too low of a voice so one has to guess it


this was put forward sometime ago and noone has done nothing about it... "I was the first to get there". It is perfectly acceptable as one of the meaning for TO ARRIVE is GET.


The english translation does not sound like the imperfect tense. There is no, "used to" or "would" in DL's translation of the italian imperfect.


Correction. "I was first when I arrived there".

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