Thanks! That's great. Funnily enough, I checked the conjugator tool on wordreference and it said that avere was the main auxiliary. Go figure! (How would you say that in Italian by the way?) What dictionary are you referring to? As you mention it, where is a good place to find the "standard rules" for avere vs essere? Ta
I'm not sure what I'd choose, actually. I checked on http://www.treccani.it/vocabolario/vivere/; as for rules, a search on google turned up whole books :O However on http://www.joyfulit.it/2012/01/auxiliary-verbs-in-italian/ there is a short enough explanation of the rules I was referring to: basically it's always avere with transitive verbs and always essere with reflexive verbs (which can't be the case for vivere). It doesn't address those who accept both like vivere and piovere, or the usage of venire as passive auxiliary, but it gives a good enough overview.
It is grammatically correct to say "erano vissuti" when the verb is intransitive (as an example I can think of "feelings that had been lived together by two people") but in this sentence without context, any Italian native speaker would assume that the verb is transitive because the subject is omitted (so that a native speaker would understand that "two people had lived together"). The result is that it just sounds wrong.
That's actually not the case. The rules governing when to use "avere" vs. "essere" for present/past perfect are a little vague, so it's usually just best to memorize the verbs that use "essere". But it has nothing to do with having a direct object. You can go to a place (making it the direct object), but you would still say "sono andato" when talking about it in the present perfect.
nerevarine1138: That's incorrect. Going to a place doesn't make that place a direct object. "The Dutch bought Manhattan Island" would make Manhattan Island a direct object, because it completes the meaning of the verb 'to buy" -- One buys something and that something is a direct object. "The Dutch sailed to Manhattan Island" on the other hand does not include a direct object; Manhattan Island is the object of a preposition. The same's true of most languages as far as direct objects vs objects of prepositions are concerned. They are not synonymous. The verb 'andare" (to go) can't take a direct object because you can not 'go anything' like you can buy, eat, sell, build, etc something. It's an intransitive verb!
Germanlehrersu, I agree, nevarine is mistaken. Perhaps some confusion with direct objects and indirect objects. We are all here to learn and we all make mistakes. Let's try and keep it polite and kind. Capitalised shouting is not pleasant. This is one of the few forums (fora) where there is virtually no rudeness. Thank you for your correct facts. They are helpful
Susanna you are right. There are verbs that can take avere and essere. When transitive (takes an object) use avere and intransitive takes essere. Reflexives always take essere, plus all the other verbs like coming and going, states of being and many more. The rules are pretty clear and ok once you gets used to them
Thanks! I keep thinking that there will come a time - and I've actually experienced that once, although I can't remember what it was in regard to - that a light will come on (figuratively speaking) and I will think, "Aha! So that's the way that works!" Not necessarily in this specific case, but in any number of situations. That's the way it worked with me, too, when I was learning to program computers.
Maybe, but subtly maybe not. As always it really needs to be seen in context which is a luxury we dont have. There are a few pitfalls in the use of past tenses, passato prossimo, imperfetto etc. this is technically trapassato prossimo which in English is the Pluperfect which requires "had" if we are to translate it literally, although I agree in English we may have translated it as simple past. It does put it slightly one step more in the past
Chrismakem: No. "they had lived..." represents a time in the past before some other event happened. It's the 'past perfect' not the simple past. Many natives don't distinguish past tenses strictly but to be precise there is a difference. E.g. "They lived in Italy for 2 years before they left" should actually be "They had lived in Italy for 2 years, before they left" because 'living there' and 'leaving' occurred at different times, one before the other, not simultaneously.
I agree, we also need to be careful about grammar terms as UK and US use different terms.For example US past perfect = UK Pluperfect. I learned the hard way as many of my books are American and I am English. My solution has been to try and use the Italian terms whenever I remember. We are somewhat sloppy in English as you say Germanlehrerlsu. I do think this is one of the factors that make our translations in accurate. If we we more precise about our own past tenses the Italian one would be a whole lot easier. Maybe Duo will improve our native grammar!
I agree too and thought your previous explanation was 'spot on'. I'm retired now but when I used to teach German verbs I'd always preface my remarks by telling my students that verbs were going to make some of them very tense and put them in a bad mood. When I started to introduce the 'imperfect tense' one student quite seriously asked me why, if it was 'imperfect' were we bothering with it. And when talking about the 'perfect' tense I'd tell them 'that's its name, and that's our goal." Apologies for the anecdotes -- it's what us old folks do.