"The couple was followed by the police officers."
Translation:La coppia era seguita dai poliziotti.
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This is the imperfect passive, not the pluperfect. The corresponsing active sentence would be I poliziotti seguivano la coppia.
Only transitive verbs have passive forms, and since all transitive verbs take avere to form the pluperfect, the two should never be confused.
To say "The couple has been followed by the police" I think you would say *La coppia è stata seguita dai poliziotti." Someone might try that and see if it is accepted too.
"A Reference Grammar of Modern Italian, Second Edition" (Maiden and Robusttelli, 2007, sections 14.34-36)
Agreed--this is definitely passive voice. Which is fine in principle, of course, but it's appearing on Duolingo before the unit on passive voice, so I was only able to figure this out because of other languages I speak. It likely found its way in because of the similarities between the form of past perfect tense and passive voice, but it is definitely the latter. I'm not sure how to report this, though, as I didn't get the sentence wrong, and there's not actually anything wrong with either the Italian or English sentences. (It looks like it's been there an awfully long time, too, given that the comment I'm replying to is three years old!) Is there a moderator around who might help with this? Grazie mille!
Thank you! The sentence suggested here worked when i tried it - but as the tenses are different surely they should not both be recognised as correct for the same sentence? I have the same issue in other places where past perfect and past simple both check out as correct/interchangeable on DL when i suspect they aren't - but i guess the problem is a lack of context.
But as Jae633849 says the confusing bit is that passive voice is not the same language point. Are any moderators able to remove or explain why it's here? grazie!