"Then I think that I started laughing."

Translation:Poi penso che io mi sia messa a ridere.

May 24, 2013

80 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mr.Ross29184

Oh man, this sentence is so messed up. It's really annoying.

"Penso che ho iniziato a ridere" is uneducated Italian, you may here it quite often, but it should be "penso che (io) abbia iniziato a ridere". All the same, no one really says the latter, which also sounds terrible, because the subject of the main clause is the same as the subordinate clause.

In a word, "Penso [di aver iniziato a ridere//di essermi messo/a a ridere]" is the most common and thus correct solution - but it's marked as wrong. Hope they solve it! (14/07/2014)


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

Well said. One of the first rules I was taught regarding the subjunctive was that it is not used if the subject in both clauses is the same.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Michaela143747

I used to get down about sentences like this. But now, although I love languages and want to speak them correctly, I realise that as long as I can make myself understood, I will be communicating! That's a good end, even if I may not do it perfectly.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PATRICKPIZ1

that isn't a rule. if the main verb is not realized in the subordinate clause (uncertainty) subjunctive is used regardless of either clauses subject. if certain conjunctions like 'a meno che', a condizione che', a patto che', et al., are used the subjunctive is used. again even when both clauses have the same subject. there are many more situations for using the subjunctive.

also, grammar has no rules, just guidelines. if there were rules our greatest authors would not have been able to write their masterpieces (and our worst authors too). we would still be speaking the same language our earliest ancestors grunted while they hid in caves from saber-toothed critters.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JamesEdwar6

I disagree. Grammar has rules; however, they change slightly often. Different countries have academies that publish books containing current grammar rules. One example is Gramática de la Real Academia Española. I have a couple of editions of it. Some usages are considered correct, others incorrect. Another example is the Harbrace College English Handbook, new editions published often. It is used in U.S. universities to teach grammar rules in English. We can stay up to date and still have rules. Try grading students' work without rules! CHEERS.


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

"Poi penso di aver cominciato a ridere" is accepted as at May 2020.


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

And "Poi penso di aver iniziato a ridere" is accepted too. But (unless I mistyped it) the same thing with avere instead of aver is not.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hawkeye704976

marked wrong September 2020


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

“Penso che ho iniziato a ridere,” is uneducated Italian…

Then Cesare Pavese must have been uneducated too:

Credo che mi annoiavo e anelavo il momento che la giornata riprendesse.

I think I was bored and longing for the moment when the day would begin again.

—Cesare Pavese, Storia segreta, in Racconti, Turin, Einaudi, 1960, p. 485

Credo che ho doesn’t means the same thing as credo di aver anyway. It corresponds more closely to probably.

Maybe before disparaging people who don’t talk like you as uneducated, you should educate yourself about Italian grammar.


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

I don't know about the authority of Mr Pavese on grammar, but cannot help my bewilderment at the poetical impression from someone's boredom while waiting for another morning.


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

Hello, I understood that the comment that "ho iniziato" was considered as "uneducated" since it used present perfect rather than perfect subjunctive. "Riprendesse" is imperfect subjunctive, so would not be "uneducated" under that same consideration. Nowadays it seems subjunctive & adverbs are rarely used, and there are frequent debates on DL whether this is the consequence of a developing language or a lower standard of education.


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

Btw, I used 'cominciato' which incidentaly is also the tip (!). It was wrong. Go figure..


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

I think that, if DL is going to include idiomatic phrases, then the hints on hover should, at the very least, give correct clues.


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

Don't use the hover tips. They only tell you possible translations of a specific word, like looking in a dictionary.


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

One thing that bothers me about the about the correct answer and all the discussion of the native Italian speakers on this page is the use of the verb "mettere" (to put). I'd be interested to know from native speakers whether this is some idiomatic usage meaning "to start"? If so, does it only apply to certain types of things like laughing, crying etc, or is it because we are using "to start" in the subjunctive? Why not "iniziare" or "cominciare"? Would they be acceptable, wrong or just clumsy?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KatieMacK13

Yes, please answer this question. How can a word which we had learned to mean put suddenly mean start (especially as we have learnt 2 other words to mean start?)


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

The verb is not mettere = "to put", but the reflexive mettersi, so the root sense is "to put oneself" in a certain way or activity, or to "set oneself" doing something: and hence to start doing something: mettersi a fare qualcosa.

The Collins entry linked by Mollgigi gives as examples mettersi al lavoro, "to set to work", and mettersi a bere "to take to drink". The sense of the verbs here provides a sort of 'halfway house' or 'missing link' between the literal "put oneself to" and the more metaphorical "start to".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KatieMacK13

That is a very helpful answer but I still don't understand how to choose between the various words meaning start? In English of course we have 3 words -start & begin which are more or less the same or commence which is more formal and less used.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DevonPaul2

We have more than three. We also have "initiate". In some senses "inaugurate" means to start. We also have phrases that mean "to start" in specific contexts, like "set off" or "get moving". I suspect that just like how, in English, we could theoretically say "initiate laughter" it would sound weird or robotic compared to "start laughing" despite meaning the same thing, the different ways of saying "start" in Italian also have different 'flavours'.


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

Not a native speaker but see Collins entry for the verb 'mettersi': https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/italian-english/mettersi


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

Italian is my mother tongue, so I think the correct alternatives should be 1. Poi penso di aver iniziato a ridere» or «Poi penso di essermi messa a ridere» (these are the most commonly used forms). 2. Poi penso che mi sia messa a ridere (less common, but still used). 3. Poi penso che io abbia iniziato a ridere (even less common, but still valid).


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

Delightful! Thank you! "mi sia messa a ridere" = I have put myself to laugh = I started to laugh

il capitolo ci chiede il condizionale.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jjudez14

Glad to have short, easy explanation. Grazie mille!


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

I am a non native and just asking: Does the clitic have to go before the essere as in "Poi, penso di mi essere messo a ridere" or "Poi, penso di mi sia messo a ridere" or can it go after in the case of "Poi, penso di essermi messo a ridere"? (I read in "A Reference Grammar of Modern Italian" that in certain cases with avere the clitic can be attached at the end of the infinitive but with essere it should be placed before the conjugated verb which happens to be the infinitive in this case).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Keith352848

Interesting on the one hand, but horribly frustrating on the other that there are four ways to say the same exact thing, and the fourth, which is the least used, appears to be the closest to a direct translation of the English sentence...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CinziaL52

I never heard of this. Where does "mi sia messa" fit in here?


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

It's the congiuntivo passato of mettersi, applied to the set phrase mettersi a piangere/ridere, to start to cry/laugh. See part 3a of the Collins tab at WordReference: http://www.wordreference.com/iten/mettersi.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sgriggs45

It just bothers me that every other sentence in this lesson uses the perfect subjunctive and all of a sudden they don't accept "che io abbia comminciato a ridere"


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

Italian distinguishes between iniziare and cominciare. I've run into the same problem in other sentences.


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

English also distinguishes between initiate and commence. One should hope the distinctions are rather similar, as, apparently, they have common origins. In English 'commence' is action intrinsic to a subject, i.e. 'the work commences on Monday'. For a person, the meaning of commence is more commonly conveyed with begin, i.e. 'I begin laughing every time I hear this story'. On the other hand, initiate appears to associate with an extrinsic action, e.g. 'by pressing the button they initiate the procedure', etc. Finally, there is also 'start', which covers both meanings.

While, semantically, I feel cominciare should convey the meaning of 'started laughing' or 'began laughing', my answer 'allora penso che abbia iniziato a ridere' was accepted! Go figure.


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

Kind of like argomento = discussion, and discutere = to argue. Go figure. Language calisthenics.


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

The first solution is in the passato prossimo, not the subjunctive at all, as it should be. The second solution is in the feminine, 'mi sia messa' -the masculine should be accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mmeli90

Why wouldn't 'Poi penso di aver cominciato a ridere' work?


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

Because they are asking for conditional in the second clause.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Budd01

"Poi penso di aver iniziato a ridere" was accepted 26/03/20


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

I agree...the same subject (in this case I) in both the independrnt and dependent clauses requires use of "penso di aver cominciato a ridere.".! 6/26/14


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

Normally we say "di essermi messo a ridere". More simple.


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

When using essere as the auxiliary verb does the mi have to go before the essere as in "Poi, penso di mi essere messo a ridere" or "Poi, penso di mi sia messo a ridere" or can it follow it as in "Poi, penso di essermi messo a ridere"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bent937719

why not! allora penso che abbia cominciato a ridere?


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

DL gives as a correct solution 'Poi penso che io inizia a ridere.' However, I do not understand 'inizia'. What form of iniziare is 'inizia'? See http://www.wordreference.com/conj/ITverbs.aspx?v=inizia


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

It was written 'iniziai' which is remoto.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bixxby
  • 1288

What a weird sentence...


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

Why both 'io' and 'mi'? Don't they both refer to the person speaking?


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

The "mi" is there to make the verb reflexive; I believe that the sentence actually calls for the verb mettersi : "To put oneself".
It's very idiomatic as an expression, which is why there are so many complaints about it here. But the reason for 'io' and 'mi' does make sense, at least.


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

When the subject of the main sentence and the dependent sentence is the same, the infinitive is used instead of the subjunctive. (Paola Nanni-Tate) Could anybody pls tell me if in this sentence the subject on the main clause is different from the dependent clause?


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

"Then I think that I started laughing"

The subject of a sentence is whatever is "doing" the verb.

The main clause here is "Then I think", so the subject is "I".

The dependent clause here is "I started laughing", so the subject is "I".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David824510

DL really needs a section for idioms.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WoNkY8

I wrote the wrong answer which I found to be acceptable but disappointing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tommaso27gz

Duo is going to teach lots of people how to the subjunctive INCORRECTLY. The main clause and dependent clause subject is the same. Therefore, the infinitive is used.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MichaelASm314026

why are both io and mi required in this sentence?


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

Duolingo is choosing to use the reflexive verb mettersi here, literally to put oneself, or set oneself (doing something). Here what is being done is laughing: io mi sono messa a ridere (a way of saying that I started laughing). The "mi" is the first person singular reflexive pronoun associated with the reflexive verb.

(And because all of this is then embedded inside a penso che, it gets shunted into the subjunctive ie "sono" becomes "sia")


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BrettThoma3501

Is mettersi a verb itself, or is it one of those pronominal Frankenstein verbs?


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

It's a reflexive verb.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Liesbeth157662

I did everything right! But .... DL has decided in it's silliness that I could know that this time the subject is female ....messA therefore. How the hack should I know this???? It really makes me angry (again) that messO is not marked correct and that I therefore lose my last heart. Very discouraging DL!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wolfi11111

" Poi penso che io abbia iniziato a ridere" , is correct and should be accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WalterZAMB4

Poi io penso che cominciato ridere. Was marked wrong!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WalterZAMB4

Poi penso che io mi sia cominciato a ridere. Not accepted.


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

There are a number of valid ways of translating this which Duolingo does not accept, but I am afraid your suggestions are not among them. Its own preferred translation is not ideal either, since where the subject of the main and the dependent clauses are the same, Italian tends to use di + Infinitive rather than the Subjunctive. So the easiest way of saying it is probably Poi penso di aver cominciato a ridere. "aver cominciato" is a bit like "to have started". This was accepted earlier this year.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rich813692

If it helps "to set someone laughing" is perfectly good English and "to set" is a reasonable translation of mettere. Which could give us, "Then I think I set myself laughing" not that I've tried that on DL.


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

I'm not sure I've ever heard "to set someone laughing", though it is obvious what it would mean. The usual idiom, as least in my neck of the Anglosphere, is "to make someone laugh". But "I made myself laugh" would be, well, laughable.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rich813692

If you Google "set the whole room laughing" you'll get lots of examples. Not for the first time, I wonder how anyone learns English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RichardHar981284

messa confuses me completely any help welcome


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

See just above.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Puzzle36714

What the hell...


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

This is a terrible line to practice


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/John601897

Still not corrected after 7 years. Have reported it


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChristineH636916

why is...... 'abbia cominciato ridere 'wrong?


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

It would be "... abbia cominciato A ridere". It is always cominciare (and iniziare) A (fare qualcosa). (But, counterintuitively, finire DI fare qualcosa)

But actually, since the subject of the subordinate clause is identical to that of the main one, a more likely Italian rendering would be penso di aver cominciato a ridere.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lindaharris1

Oh my god this puts me off learning to speak this language.


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

The biggest issue with this sentence is that it is by no way solveable with the previous exercises of level 1 or 2 of this skill. "Let's make this harder" exercises in my opinion should be something that are solvable with the patterns presented in the previous exercises of the same skill but maybe with more complex example.

This sentence is an idiomic use of a spesific verb not previously presented at all, thus it is impossible to know that one should use mettersi here. Thanks to all the wonderful commenters here explaining the DL's correct solution but it's a bit frustrating that you cannot get a clean pass from exercise simply because you do not know a somewhat advanced phraseology used in Italian language. Maybe this should have come in the upper levels of the skill, on level 2 it's definitely at wrong level.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DevonPaul2

After reading the comments, I understand why this answer is what it is, but it sure would be nice if the tips for this lesson introduced this way of using mettersi before it just showed up.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alex518387

why does this sentence need 'io' and 'mi' please?


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

since when did 'messa' mean started? please can someone explain?


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

See eg my replies to KatieMacK13 or MichaelASm314026 above.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jane643611

I thought messa meant put.


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

mettersi a fare qualcosa = to begin doing something

For more see the comments already here.


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

analogous to 'have you put yourself to a task'. Yes, it is different but not a shocking departure from English

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