"Sarebbe un errore se lui non giocasse."

Translation:It would be an error if he were not to play.

December 4, 2014

This discussion is locked.


The only comment I have about this translation is that we never say it would be an "error". We would say, it would be a "mistake" if he didn't play or doesn't play or if he were not to play. Errors are usually reserved for errors on tests or grammatical errors, for e.g.


i translated, "it would be wrong if he did not play," and DL rejected it.


Very clumsy. Most people would say, it would be a mistake if he didn't play.


sarebbe is present conditional here, so how if he does not play is not accepted?


Because it is an hypothetical period. Second conditional.


The problem is with the English. Both, 'if he does not play' and 'if he were not to play' have the same meaning in English; they both refer to a future possibility.


Sorry but it's wrong. The Italian sentence corresponds to a second conditional form, that requires a past in the condition. So "if he does" is wrong.



I am a native British English speaker and the two English phrases 'if he does not play' and 'if he were not to play' mean the same thing. If you question this please tell me what the difference in meaning is.


I'm talking about the difference among zero, first and second conditional. Using your examples:

1) "If he plays he is sure to win" is zero conditional and you use present tense in the "if clause" and present tense for the consequence. For this in Italian you use only INDICATIVE or imperative mood.

2) "It will be an error if he does not play" is first conditional and in Italian you also use only INDICATIVE or imperative mood.

3) "If he played he would be sure to win" is second conditional. That means that you have an unlikely hypothesis and you use past simple in the "if clause" and "would" for the consequence. In Italian you need imperfect SUBJUNCTIVE + present CONDITIONAL, like in the Duo's sentence.

I'm not inventing anything, it's only grammar that I studied and you can find everywhere. Like here: http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/conditionals-verb-tense-in-if-clauses/

And here there's the correspondence with Italian hypotethical period: https://www.uvm.edu/~cmazzoni/3grammatica/grammatica/hypothetical.html https://ciaoitaliablog.wordpress.com/classes/hypothetical-phrases/



I have looked at your link and have no argument with it. Conditionals in English are normally expressed using the past tense but there are cases where the present is used. For example, 'If he plays he is sure to win' (referring to a possible future event). This could also be expressed as 'If he played he would be sure to win'.

I am not sure if there is any clear distinction in usage but I will have a think about it and get back to you.


The arbitrariness is maddening... So much so that I'm beginning to wonder if DL is not really a money making translation app disguised as a language learning app, but really a psychological experiment in torment tolerance disguised as a money making translation app .


"He would be mistaken if he didn't play." Is this not a correct translation?


First of all it says UN errore-- He would be a mistake? Makes no sense-- if it said IN ERRORE, maybe--BUT If the subject of both clauses were the same you might use DI (or A or no conjunction at all depending on the verb) not CHE and the second clause is in the infinitive... Sarebbe in errore di non giocare. or maybe Sbaglierebbe a non giocare.


Not correct English


It is always so frustrating, being not native english speaking, nor native italian speaking, to guess the right answer. Not only frustrating but very discouraging. As it happens so many times, I start to believe that this is the core business now. Ignoring the iscussions and remarks only confirms this feeling.


This translation I would never guess. "I would like that this exercise finished" in the DL spirit.

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why : he were??


"If" is unnecessary. "Were he not play" is sufficient.


Were he not TO play would be correct but this is very formal English. The normal way of expressing this is If he didn't play.


"It would be an error were he not to play" should be accepted


This sentence and its accepted translations illustrate the difficulty of trying to translate meaning across different linguistic communities. The subjunctive in common English usage can almost always be formed in different ways and is inherently messy. Using Duolingo teaches humility, at the very least, and requires a certain level of intuitive flexibility to achieve a perfect score. I'm happier with a certain level of imperfection if it helps me learn.

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