"La gente entrava quando voleva."

Translation:People would enter whenever they wanted.

July 27, 2013



"People would enter whenever they wanted" is good.

July 27, 2013


(American English speaker) I agree. The "would enter" is equivalent to "used to enter," especially when the rest of the sentence makes it clear the action is in the past.

May 3, 2014


Yes, I'd never thought about that as a way to express the imperfect in English.

October 22, 2013


Yup. Depending on context though. "People would enter if they knew how" is a totally different meaning of "would".

October 17, 2014


This is as bad as it gets. "The present conditional tense (condizionale presente) is equivalent to the English constructions of "would" + verb (for example: I would never forget)..." while... "The conditional perfect (condizionale passato), like all compound tenses in Italian, is formed with the condizionale presente of the auxiliary verb avere or essere and the past participle of the acting verb..." So, the sentence: "People would enter whenever they wanted" translated to Italian would sound something like this: "La gente sarebbe entrata quando voleva." or maybe "La gente entrerebbero quando voleva." But definitely not Would Enter as a translation for voleva. On the end, actual translation for the Italian sentence "La gente entrava quando voleva" would be "The people used to enter whenever they wanted.".

January 7, 2014


Sorry, but "would enter" is another way of expressing the imperfect tense in English; it means the same as "used to enter". Another example, "I would eat spam during rationing in the 1940s, but not now". Or "they would put their mobile phones away when the teacher entered the room". There is nothing conditional about any of those; it is a description of what used to happen. In English an equivalent sort of phrase in the conditional tense is: "Would you enter the building if it were on fire?"

July 29, 2014


It doesn't necessarily mean the action in the past isn't done anymore if you ask me. There's a subtle difference between "People would go to the game" and "People used to go to the game". I feel that the first one leaves the possibility open that they still go to the game but you don't know one way or the other.

October 17, 2014


Both your examples look conditional to me: I would eat spam because it was wartime and I would put my phone away because the teacher came in. In the question we're discussing there is no such condition.

August 1, 2014


How about, I would walk along the beach in the evenings back then. We would listen to the stories our grandfather told us when we were young.

August 1, 2014


No, Craig, neither is conditional. "Would" in English is frequently used as the imperfect tense, the same as "used to" (as Ariaflame says above). For my examples to be conditional, they would be : "I would eat spam if there were rationing" [but there isn't, so I don't], and "I would put my mobile phone away if the teacher were to walk in" [but he hasn't, so I haven't].

August 1, 2014


"would enter" isn't a translation of voleva. It's a translation of entrava. In English we do tend to use 'would' as a synonym of 'used to' when speaking of the past. When speaking of the future then it's used in its conditional form.

June 26, 2014


I thought this should be translated as "La gente entrava quando volevano" Why is this wrong? :(

February 5, 2015


Because while people does involve more than one person, 'la gente' - the people' is treated as a singular noun, as the group of people effectively, so the singular voleva rather than the plural volevano is used.

February 5, 2015


Bravo! Grazie mile! Mi hai aiutato molto

February 5, 2015


Great help! Thanks!!

September 9, 2015


Ah, that explains it. I had the same question :). Thank you!

January 19, 2016


La gente entrerebbero quando voleva -> "La gente" is singular so it would be "la gente entrerebbe quando voleva"… …which is wrong because it sounds like "people would enter (in the present) when they wanted (in the past) by the way thanks

January 8, 2014


Why is this voleva and not volevano? I put "The people were entering whenever he wanted.", which was obviously marked wrong.

July 16, 2014


La gente is singular, hence voleva. You nevertheless have a point in my view: whenever he wanted would also be translated like this, maybe with adding "lui" to avoid confusion. But I might be wrong :-)

July 28, 2014


Thanks, I suppose you can't expect Duo to catch every interpretation of the translation, especially when they're a bit atypical like the one I wrote.

July 28, 2014


Grazie, Lawrence49, that makes sense. We do say "the people are...."

September 20, 2014


Could it not be "People would enter when he/she wanted", as in, the people were entering at a time when another wanted them to?

May 22, 2015


Did the same...

September 26, 2015


"the people entered when they FELT LIKE" is not good? I'm italian

November 7, 2013


If you were going to translate this sentence like this I would say "The people entered when they felt like it." We rarely say "felt like" without the "it" at the end. I'm a US English speaker.

December 3, 2013


But a question, hazablad. The final verb "voleva" is singular. I said The people entered whenever it wanted" Now I know that sounds weird in English but I couldn't say "they" with the verb "voleva" Very troublesome.

September 20, 2014


Yes you can. English uses the plural form when talking of people, Italian uses the singular, hence voleva.

If you turn it the other way round and translate into Italian the English "the people entered whenever they wanted", you wouldn't write "la gente entrava quando volevano".

September 20, 2014


Understanding this stuff is easy. My problem is remembering the individual word spellings. haha

December 24, 2014


That is precisely what I put in Italian and my efforts gained me an "Oops! That is incorrect!" This is not the first time, and I do not understand the error.

April 9, 2015


The sound is missing...

September 28, 2017


People would come when they wanted marked wrong.

June 11, 2018


This might be a dumb question, but how would I know whether to use "could" or "would"? Thanks.

September 12, 2018


"The people were entering when they wanted" why is this wrong?

October 19, 2018


I have the same question. Surely 'when' and 'whenever' are synonymous in English here.

August 17, 2019


Why not simply, "People entered whenever they wanted."?

September 12, 2019
Learn Italian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.