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  5. "Pensavo che avrebbero preso …

"Pensavo che avrebbero preso una torta."

Translation:I thought they would have gotten a cake.

June 17, 2013



"I thought they would have brought a cake?" As in portare = to bring ?


No, "prendere" is more "to get something from somewhere" than "to bring something somewhere." I would interpret this sentence as what one would say if a group of people walked into a grocery store with birthday party hats and bought a bag of apples. Or what one would say if that group then showed up at the party with the bag of apples ("I thought they would have gotten a cake [at the store].").


Hi, M

Sorry, I should have said 'WE Brits' - I'm British. A tired, old Brit.

I think you've been misled about our attitude to 'get'.

Even as a child, back in the early 60s, we would talk about getting something for Christmas, get me something from the shop ... etc.

We should ask Estelle for confirmation, but I think we have two issues here. GET is a catch-all verb used out of laziness when more precise verbs are available - buying the paper, fetching the paper, and so on. The objection there is one of style.

There is a separate issue on 'gotten' - we use 'get, got, got'.

I would have got the paper if I had known you wanted it.

No problem. Not Shakespeare, perhaps a little ambiguous, but basically OK.

However: 'I would have GOTTEN ...' counts as an error in grammar in a British school.

I hesitated to reply because I seem to be quibbling a lot this week, but it didn't seem right to leave you misinformed.

Have a super day. I'm off to agree with someone - anyone, really - on another course.



Gotten: Terrible English!


Hi, Michael

In Britain, I agree. The Brits would wince over that.

The Americans, though, seem cool with it.

Different strokes, guys.

Have a good one. :)


"Gotten" is still considered poor usage in Australia. Made me wince, too.


I wouldn't say terrible just it is about 3 or 400 years since we used to use it!


Forsooth! Methinks I agree..


Yes, agreed, there's no issue with the verb "to get"; it's just the past participle "got", which some of us have been taught to avoid (even though it's not technically incorrect), because "there's almost always a better word". Some lessons are hard to forget!


I was taught the same in Australia & I still always try to find an alternative way to communicate without ever saying or writing "gotten". "I had forgotten" is fine though ...


Ah, okay. I had seen both issues here, but it seemed like the confusion was stemming from people using (or wanting to use) verbs other than "to get" and thus misinterpreting the Italian sentence. The variation with "have got" is already in the system; it's just not the default translation.

There's no need to apologize for not agreeing with people. Feel free to quibble away. : ) I like to see that people are arguing grammar points - it shows that they're trying to think things through and process them. If you have questions, don't hesitate to post them on my page.


Mmseiple, where do I find your page?


Hi Linda, I also had a few board rubbers thrown at me for using Got, Get, Getting or Gotten. I only went to a state school in England learning English.


Agree absolutely Linda B_Duolingo


I think the problem is the word "gotten", which is quite bad English and can mean brought or bought or taken. I think this sentence should be replaced with "I thought they would have brought/bought/taken a cake", whichever the intention is. We certainly shouldn't be teaching "gotten" to learners of English!


Here in the US, "gotten" is the most commonly used participle for "to get," which is the meaning of "prendere" here. It is not bad English here. This is a regional difference. You should find that "taken" is accepted, as well as "got," however. If not, let me know so I can add it.


gotten - i think that this is not standard english, even in the usa. sorry. however i'd be interested to know which regions use it predominantly. always something new to learn.


As far as I know, "gotten" is the standard participle for "to get" throughout the US, though I suppose it's possible that there are parts of the US where it is not. It is a big country, after all. I grew up in PA and am now in VA, and would say that in both places they say "gotten." Outside of the US, the standard participle is "got":



May I ask where you are from?


I've lived in New York state, Florida, California and Oregon, and I've heard "gotten" used frequently in all those places.

What intrigues me is that I've also heard "have got" and the two tend to be used in slightly different senses. "I've got a car" means you have one, while "I've gotten a car" implies you just now or recently got it.


Ciao, mmseiple

I thought they would get a cake ....?



Close, but you need the conditional perfect for the second verb: would have gotten/got.


Hi, mmseiple

Sei sicura? (Apologies if that sounds arrogant.)

I've seen many examples where future perfect and conditional perfect are not translated that way in English.

Pensavo che sarebbe venuto -> I thought he would come.

If you look in Context Reverso, there are many, many examples like this.

I ask because I'm struggling to internalize it myself.



It's true that sometimes where in English we use the simple tenses (future and conditional), Italian requires the perfect tenses. This means, where in English "I thought he would come" sounds more natural than "I thought he would have come," in Italian the opposite is correct. This is why you get examples like this when consulting Reverso, since they are actual translations and not exercises to learn a certain tense. Also, you have to take those with a grain of salt. Looking up "avrebbero preso" on Reverso, a couple of the translations of this in the conditional appear to be Italian translations from subtitles of dialogue where a character is speaking broken English, which is then corrected in the Italian. I don't see any examples where the conditional perfect would not work just as well as the conditional translation.

It's good that you're thinking about this, and the perfect tenses in Italian do sometimes work in weird ways, but I would encourage you to translate the tenses literally here if it is possible and makes sense. In the real world, you might not do this, but for the sake of learning the conditional perfect I would translate it as the conditional perfect in English on Duolingo.


Hi, me again.

So ... I thought they would get a cake - is not actually wrong?

I offer it because it gets you out of the 'gotten' problem that distresses the Brits so much.

I know CR is flawed, like every tool out there - to be used with caution. Still very useful, though.

I am actually past the stage of learning how the conditional perfect is formed - I'm trying to internalize how it's used, how it relates to what we would say in real-life English. So, thanks for the advice, but I think I shall persevere with trying to go beyond literal decoding of the text. Io mi spingo oltre!



It's the verb "to get" in itself that the Brits don't like, which I'm afraid does not have a good solution. I just meant to use a literal translation on here - not everyone is as advanced and I think that adding different tenses to the Duolingo translations when the original tense does work in English runs the risk of confusing beginners.

If you're trying to work out the subtleties of the way the tenses work, you might try focusing more on Immersion here (and perhaps you already do this) or just reading without translation (the best way, to me). I find the added context helps a lot.


Okay, I understand; however this sentence will cause problems for non American English speakers - as per the comments, interpreting the sentence as " ...brought a cake" and using the Italian verb portare instead of the intended prendere. It's annoying to get something wrong because of a different interpretation of the English sentence. Of course, these issues will crop up from time to time - I'm not complaining and I'm grateful for the work you've done/are doing :-)


I'm sorry, unfortunately we have to pick something as the default translation. The best I can do is add alternate translations so that you're not being marked wrong. I am trying to add the non-American alternatives when I see them, so make sure that you report them when they are not accepted.


Could this not also be interpreted as "pensavo che avrebbero erano dato una torta" (I thought they would have been given a cake)? ie They got a balloon for their birthday. I thought they would have gotten a cake.


The Italian sentence here could not. "Prendere" means "to get" in the sense of taking something into your possession. If you were translating the English sentence "I thought they would have gotten a cake," you could certainly translate that as "Pensavo che avrebbero ricevuto una torta" ("I thought they would have received a cake."), since that is another meaning of "get" in English ("get" is kind of a slippery verb in English and means many different things). You cannot literally translate the sentence "They would have been given a cake" in Italian, though, because in Italian the passive would only work for the thing being given (i.e. "A cake would have been given to them."). This is a weird structure in English (using an indirect object as the subject of a passive sentence) that doesn't work in Romance languages in general.


I've lived in the four corners of the lower 48 states (NY State, Florida, Southern California & Oregon) and "gotten" is standard usage in all those places.


Here in the US, the most commonly used past participle for "to get" is "got'. It can be used in the perfect tense as "would have gotten".


I think this sentence would make more sense to people if you understand the phrase:

To get a coffee = Prendere un caffe'

This is just another form of that expression, hence why the past participle of "get" is being used. Unfortunately the past particle of "get" has a lot of variation in English.


I agree. I thought this was "I thought they would have brought a cake".


'Gotten' is an abhorrence.


"Gotten" isn't English, no English person would use it


My feeling exactly - until I started reading Bill Bryson's interesting and entertaining book, "Mother Tongue," in which he points out that many apparent Americanisms are actually archaic English words which have fallen into disuse in Britain, but were taken across to America by the early settlers and retained.


Absolutley disgraceful English Duo - sort it out!


Gotten is only an American English word. It isn't English.


For years British have fallen over gotten - which simply isn't English as spoken in England. Please allow a non American response!


Well you know what they say,America and Britain are two countries divided by a common language!! , being British I personally have never heard "gotten"being used


Oh come on! This is one Americanism too far - we are translating to English not American. No-one but no-one says gotten. Can Duolingo get back to basic English.


As has been said above, "gotten" is the original form, which went out of use in Britain in the 18th century, being replaced by "got", but continued being used in America. (That would make it the form that more people use, rather than "no-one".) Interestingly, I've heard it coming back to Britain - a lot of young people use it now. I've even seen it a few times in articles on the BBC website.


"Gotten"? What about "brought"? And I don't really care how does it sound correctly in Britain English or American or Australian. Because I learn Italian. Allora non fare il salame.


There is no such word as GOTTEN in the English language. Why is Duo still so American


It’s not like it’s a US-based company or anything XD


... and while we are having a whinge, i cringe when i hear almost daily now youngsters at the counter saying "can i get a coffee?" I feel like saying "of course there is the machine, help yourself".


GOTTEN does mot exist as a past participle of 'get'. The past participle is got! ENGLISH is not the same as American


Then stop using an American company to learn Italian. I'm an American, I shudder when I hear "I would have got a cake" To me, the verb is get, got, gotten, when it does not refer to possession. I do use I have got or I've got for present simple possession of something or when expressing necessity (I've got a cake, I've got to go).


Oh dear, that is just so American and that is not good English at all! ' I thought that they would have taken or brought a cake ' is right and not the Duolingo translation after all English is the language being taught not American !


There is no such word in the ENGLISH language as gotten. Why do we only have American spoken here


But, as Professor Higgins said "I don't know what to say about America, really - they haven't spoken English for years."

Seriously, American English is the standard on this website simply because Duolingo is an American company.
Merriam Webster's Dictionary of English Usage includes "gotten" as a past participle (ironically the American publisher is now owned by a British company). If Duolingo were a British company, British English would be the standard and all of the Brits would be impatient with the Americans endlessly whinging about "colour" instead of "color"; why can't we say "gotten", etc.
The program does try to include your "proper British" spelling and grammar as acceptable answers but it is quite simply an American-based program.
Di conseguenza, è quello che è. It is what it is.


Gotten in american i understand is to "have had" whereas in the text it says "preso" which is surely "taken" or "took" where does "got" or even "gotten" (yuk) come into this. I have heard people say in modern slang "can i get this" when they really mean "can i buy this" or "can you give me this" but never "gotten"


I thought they would have gotten a cake??? What on earth kind of English is that? I said "I thought they would have brought a cake. "Gotten" is bad grammar

  • 1861

Just to add my two pennies worth: Portare most commonly means either to bring, to carry, to bear, or to wear.
In no self-respecting Italian-English dictionary have I seen the verb Portare translated into that most ugly of verbs "to get", which should only be used sparingly and in very particular contexts, such as: "I would like to get this" or "I got it" and even then there are better alternatives.


Except the verb is prendere, not portare. Preso is the past participle of the former, and portato of the latter


Gotten sounds awful to English speakers. Only Americans use it.


gotten? - very archaic


Very wrong !!


Not in the US. I use it all the time. And hear it used among all she groups, all the time.


In english, the past of got is GOT. there is no such word as gotten !


'gotten' is awful English. 'taken' or even 'brought' would have been much more correct


What on earth is "gotten" the past participle of to Get? I don't think so


'Gotten'? Horrible Americanism!


'Gotten' is NEVER used in UK English; it is considered incorrect. In this instance, UK English would use 'bought', or possibly 'brought'


The word 'gotten' `is really poor English.


no such word as 'gotten' in the English language


One thing DL has brought home to me is just how many differences there are in usage between British English and US English - and how heated people become when they discuss those differences. Personally, I think we should obsess a bit less about them: after all, we're trying to learn Italian, not English.


Very true, but how would you feel if you were doing the reverse tree as an Italian trying to learn British English and you saw this awful rendition of American English, this is not what they would want to learn !


Good point. I think - or perhaps I merely hope - that the DL English course is managed by different people and that they understand the nuances of English usage, and are able to navigate the student through the niceties of the language as it's spoken in different parts of the world. Or then again...


Sadly I have done the reverse tree and these cacophonic phrases appear on the English Duolingo site, together with as always the American way of spelling.


I feel the need for a suitable emoji!


I am not that 'gotten' would even be considered well spoken American English. :)


GOTTEN!!!! horrible English. Taken, not gotten.


"gotten".....horrible horrible horrible. DL you had the opportunity to use an uncontroversial translation that works for all English speakers. But you didn't....


Gotten! Ha ha. No! The language is English. And 'gotten' has no place in it.


I really do not want to say "gotten" - it may be American, but it certainly isn't English!! We would say "got" - but it's lazy - "brought" would be best!!


In American English, there is a subtle distinction between got and gotten as past participle. I can say I have gotten six mosquito bites in the last hour, meaning that in that period of time, I received those bites, or I can say I have got six mosquito bites, meaning that six mosquitoes bit me, but I don't know when. British English has lost this distinction over the past 400 plus years since the founding of Jamestown and Plymouth. American English retained it.


I have been bitten 6 times by mosquitoes in the last hour. 6 mosquitoes have bitten me in the last hour


'Gotten' is not normally used in British English for 'have got'. It is used in American English.


"Gotten"? - Ouch


"Gotten"?, Gotten?? What sort of a word is that? It's certainly not English!


Why don't you read what other people have already posted about this phrase instead of just making exactly the same comment ! It just makes for immensely boring reading !


the forum Is for people to express issues with their learning . I find it interesting when an issue results in many comments. Your's on the other hand appears to take the unasked role of the policeman??? Your's is the unnecessary one.


What kind of English is "gotten"?


sorry mmseipel - you are no doubt correct. too much bbc, i suppose. i am from western pennsylvania, but so long ago that my accent and speech patterns have morphed into a more bland language form, something i regret. always feel pleased when i hear a pennsylvania accent.


Actually in British English, although 'got' might be the standard participle, it is strongly discouraged. "Don't say 'got'" my grandmother always used to tell me. eg "I've got a cake" - "no, you HAVE a cake" or "I got a biscuit"- "no, you TOOK a biscuit". The use of the word 'got' was often an indicator of the level of education (or lack thereof). I think this has changed somewhat now, although I still cringe when the word accidentally slips from my mouth.


As an English teacher in South Africa I am constantly waging war against the word "got' - there is almost always a better word! I shudder when I hear "gotten"!!


Howzit, Estelle! ❤❤❤ gaan dit?

(Pom living in the Cape.)

English is changing so fast I can't keep up.

I can remember being chastised for asking 'can I?' instead of 'may I?', but no-one seems to mind very much these days. I learned 'I shall' but 'you will' ... which makes me dinosaur, apparently. 'Gotten' sounds so strange to me (apologies to our American friends) - but 'got' .... I've heard it so often now that I use it myself.

'Strongs' to you for fighting the good fight.

Lekker dag. :)


Thanks for the encouragement, Linda. Dit gaan baie goed, dankie! We're obviously from the same era - and I'm also in the Cape!


sounds like i need english review, not italian! thanks for the input.


You and your grandmother are right, but there are correct uses for got: I got on the bus. I got them at the store. I got lost on the way to your house.


I'm just getting pretty confused and frustrated with these tenses - in a recent exercise the perfect, translated as a perfect ( I thought that you would not have come), was rejected - now it's the only acceptable answer. Am I missing something?


Duo would not accept my answer: I thought they would have "taken" a cake. Prendere means "take", "get", "catch". I don't understand how someone is supposed to know whether was going "to bring" or "to take" something.


I believe the cottect way to say this sentence is, "Pensavo che (loro) avessero preso una torta".


Why is this still saying "gotten". Is Duolingo run by Americans?


There are lots of US usages in DL. It's best not to get upset by them. Usually, in judging the responses, DL accepts both the US and the British versions.


Short answer - yes. It's an American company. It should accept British usage but it will always use American English in its prompts.


Yes gotten is definitely American English but although we Brits do not use it, we do understand it.


In English the word is 'got'. Gotten is American only

  • 1596

or 'taken'


Yes... "American English". Ossimoro. :)


Or should it be gotted ...lol


This forum has just gotten interesting

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