"Penso che loro si siano tenuti le chiavi."

Translation:I think that they have kept the keys.

July 11, 2013

41 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/dnovinc

Why is tenersi used here instead of tenere?

July 11, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Muttley71

This is one of those cases when you are allowed to hate Italians: pronominal verbs :-) These verbs have the reflexive form but they are not reflexive (http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/verbi-pronominali_%28Enciclopedia_dell%27Italiano%29/)

December 3, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Oceanotti

Thank you for this useful link. I see that Italian pronominal verbs work as in other Romance languages. For anyone who reads this thread I would like to point out that IMO (warning: non Italian-speaker talking) si tenere differs from tenere in that the former conveys the sense of retaining something to oneself, for one's future use or whatever that excludes sharing with others, while the latter means simply to keep or hold something, even without the intent of possessing it. I hope this helps.

April 8, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/LindaB_Duolingo

Hi, Muttley. What I still don't understand is - why does keeping the keys use tenerSI, but keeping a secret just uses plain old tenere - and popping in a SI loses you a heart. Soooo confused. :)

November 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Muttley71

As I said, the use of the pronominal verbs is a pain in the ass :-/
Besides, tenere un segreto is an expression: tenersi un segreto would still be acceptable but would rise more than an eyebrow.

November 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/LindaB_Duolingo

Hi, Muttley. Finally took the time to look at the web site you suggested - ma, e' in Italiano! Gosh. Too much like work. Too soon for me. (Thanks anyway.) But I did scratch around looking for English sites about pronominal verbs in Italian.

I see what you mean. A lot like our 'phrasal verbs' ... sorry, I am assuming you are English speaking, though it's hard to tell on this site. (That's a compliment, if you're not.) Phrasal verbs use prepositions and other particles to confused the $%^ out of second-language speakers. Put off, put on, put up, put out, put by ... great fun. So, I think I get it. Just because you think you understand the meaning of tenere, don't assume you know what tenersi means ... and anything ending in -sene is to be looked at very carefully. All thanks to that one clue 'pronominal' - for which, much thanks.

PS I would still like to know what 'tenersi un segreto' means. :)

November 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Muttley71

Hi Linda. I am actually half Italian and half Swedish :-) tenersi un segreto means 'to keep one secret to oneself'.

November 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/trevro

> would rise more than an eyebrow.

Raise. Rise/raise is kind of like lie/lay. You can't lie a book on the table, you lay it there. You can't lay down (at least not in the present tense), you lie down. You don't raise in the morning, you rise. And you can't rise an eyebrow, you raise it.

November 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Muttley71

Hi Trevor. Thanks for the correction :-)

November 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/RoslynJS

Yes. "Subject" rises (itself) - The sun rises. "Subject" raises "object" (something other than itself) - He raises his hand/eyebrows. "Subject" lies (itself) - She lies on the bed/floor. "Subject" lays "object" - The hen lays an egg! This last example helps me to remember the difference.

April 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/LindaB_Duolingo

NOW you have my interest. What would that mean?

November 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/amala-la

Thanks that's really interesting

October 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Jae633849

Plenty of other languages I know have reflexive verbs, so I personally don't find them difficult at all as a concept. But I too concur with the original questioner that it's hard to understand why 'tenersi' is used in this particular sentence.

In past Duolingo lessons we have learned that 'tenere' means 'to keep' and 'tenersi' means 'to be held' or 'to take place' (e.g. an event). We've also learned the expression 'tenersi fuori', 'tenersi pronto', and 'tenersi lontano da'. All of these make instinctive sense to me. But none help us conclude that 'tenersi' should be used in THIS sentence (as opposed to simple 'tenere').

Is there perhaps a shades-of-meaning difference between "Penso che loro si siano tenuti le chiavi" and "Penso che loro abbiano tenuto le chiavi", or is the latter simply wrong?

March 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Jae633849

In case this is of use to someone else in puzzling this out, here are a couple of sentences from the Reverso Context tool with 'tenere':

"Ci piace tenere i nostri combattimenti in modo esclusivo."

"Abbiamo 60 tizi che pompano giorno e notte per tenere il livello dell'acqua basso."

...and here are a couple with 'tenersi':

"Una ragione in più per tenerti il lavoro."

"Imposta se tenere gli spazi aggiuntivi quando si calcola la larghezza dell'indentazione."

Anyway, it looks to me from scanning all of the examples as if 'to keep' (in the sense of literally keeping a thing, not idiomatic usages like "to keep one's head down" or "to keep a secret") USUALLY translates as 'tenersi', but there are some cases where it translates as simple 'tenere'. So maybe it's best to just think of 'tenersi' as the default translation for 'to keep'.

March 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/mrule

I think the Italian has a meaning of "to themselves" "among themselves" "between themselves" etc that is not reflected in the English ( but perhaps should be ) ?

edit: ah! "for themselves" is accepted on the English side. I'll ask them to add the other possible translations?

November 7, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/Germanlehrerlsu

mrule: I put (& had accepted) "I think they kept the keys for themselves", which granted doesn't make a lot of sense out of context, but it does render at least the reflexive. It would have made more sense (as a reflexive) if it'd been: I think they kept all the money for themselves or all the chocolate, etc."

August 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/gsir

Well, "to themselves" is still not accepted, I will ask again I guess :-).

March 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/Ariaflame

It wouldn't make much sense with keys. You keep objects for yourself. You keep secrets to yourself.

August 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Dlisten
  • but "le chiave" could be in the sense of "solutions" rather than objects. In that case, people could keep them "to" themselves.
September 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Blomeley

I think that's a good idea, to help make us aware of the distinction between tenere and tenersi

November 15, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/wulfrunian

The other "correct" translation was "...the keys for themselves". I left out "for" and lost a heart. I can see no difference in meaning, whether "for" is there or not and think both should be accepted.

September 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/JohnKosko1

There is a subtle difference. For themselves implies they are keeping the keys in order to use them on their own behalf. The other translation could mean they are keeping them on behalf of someone else,e.g., to give to the renters coming next week or something similar.

April 8, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/HaroldWonh

I don't see that difference; and nor is "for themselves" good (British) English. Certainly omitting the word "from" should not be considered a mistake!

May 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Ariaflame

That may be an opinion that you have for yourself, but I don't think it is true. And the word was 'for' not 'from'.

August 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Metlieb

Why is siano used here an not abbiano?

July 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/LindaB_Duolingo

Hi, Metlieb

It's a reflexive verb - they all use essere as the auxiliary. [Actually, I believe (strictly) it's a pronominal verb - it behaves like a reflexive.]

:)

July 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Metlieb

Never knew that. Thanks for pointing it out :)

July 5, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Come_On_Eileen

This is all extremely complex and I'm having quite a struggle with it!

March 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Germanlehrerlsu

Eileen, maybe it's the reflexive causing you trouble. The problem is not every Italian reflexive construction has an english equivalent. Here it's similar to the english folksy use of the reflexive (though the italian's quite normal) to indicate indirect objects: I bought me a new car/ I kept/saved me one for the road, etc. I don't know if that only muddies the waters, but maybe it's helpful. When there's no appropriate equivalent they simply have to be learned as you encounter them.

March 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Come_On_Eileen

Grazie mille! You've helped clear the muddy waters in my brain. Please accept this lingot :-)

March 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Germanlehrerlsu

Thank you! I'm glad I could be of help.

March 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/jeri123

excellent analogy. and yes, that would be very "folksy"... even in Texas

April 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Germanlehrerlsu

Donna, thank ya now, ya hear. Ya jes gotta watch you some more of dat Duck Dynasty show on da tv, cher.

April 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/matgrioni

"I bought myself a new car" may sound more natural to some English speakers, and is the same idea.

June 5, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/ocf781

not sure why " I think they kept the keys themselves" was marked wrong considering "I think they kept the keys" and "I think they kept the keys for themselves" were both accepted.

June 3, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/Ariaflame

Leaving out the 'for' makes it unclear whether the 'themselves' refers to the keys or the people keeping them. The Italian meaning for this verb means that 'for themselves' is a better translation and clearer.

August 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/FrankAtkin1

I think that they have held on to the keys/ that they have retained possession of the keys / but not necessarily holding them in their hands at that moment

August 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/tanabudden

I put 'they themselves have kept the keys' and was marked wrong

February 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/GraemeJeal

When using the word bank, I work out the answer before looking at the words and after answering look at the hints. The hint under "chiavi", apart from "keys" was "(you) shag". Can anyone enlighten me on this suggested translation?

February 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/Muttley71

That's the verb chiavare meaning, indeed, 'to screw/❤❤❤❤' (very rude).

February 20, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/ChrisC.2

La mia risposta è stata esattamente, lettera per lettera e parola per parola la stessa come duolingo ma ancora contrassegnata male!

July 11, 2017
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