"This exercise confused me."
Translation:Questo esercizio mi ha fatto confondere.
I'm still not sure about this. I remember there being a couple other sentences floating around that are in simple-past in English, but translate to imperfetto in Italian. In all cases, the verb in the simple-past represents a state or action that could have occurred over an extended period of time. "Confuse" seems abstract enough that it could incorporate some inherent ongoing-ness that could cause it to be translated into the imperfetto in Italian. Of course, if Italians don't use the imperfetto to express this, then it shouldn't be accepted. I'm just noting that there is some unexplained inconsistency with how Duo has presented this concept.
Yes, this could be a particular case, indeed. "Questo esercizio mi confondeva" could still make sense and doesn't sound very strange. But, if you say that to me, as an italian, I understand that something about the exercise was confusing you while you were doing something different, but still concerning the same issue. That is a slightly different meaning than the original "this exercise confused me" in english, I suppose.
Wouldn't your idea be more likely to be expressed as "Questo esercizio mi distraeva"? Confusion, like distraction, is a continuing state of mind. To my non-Italian head, that makes passato prossimo seem not quite right. The given translation seems to solve that problem: the act happened; the state continued. Very precise. I see your point about the imperfetto; English has no true equivalent.
I think that mi confondeva would also be correct. Duo accepts mi ha confuso - which assumes a context of being confused at some point in the past. If you worked in a noisy factory, however, imperfect would be more appropriate than present perfect, because the noise would have been continuous and on-going.
I am repeating this exercise, and now I am indeed confused by two things.
First, there are two English verbs, "confuse" and "confound," that were originally different but that now have come to be used almost interchangeably. "Confuse" was once always passive (I was confused); "confound" once meant the act of mixing things up (I confounded the two alternatives). The Italian "confondere" is related to both English verbs. They all descend from Latin "confundere," to mix up/together.
However, I have not been able to find an Italian usage in which an inanimate object "confounded" anything; people do that. According to FrancecoS213 and AlbertoTon, something "has confused me" (mi ha confuso), or according to Duolingo it has "made me mix (something) up" (mi ha fatto confondere). And then I suppose we could have, with "confondersi," "rispetto a questo esercizio, mi ho confuso," (regarding this exercise, I confused myself).
Can someone please explain to me how "confondere" is actually normally used in Italian? Do things or events "confuse" people, or do people "confuse" things or other people, or are both possible?
Second, because confusion is a continuing state of mind, why is il passato prossimo usa invece del imperfetto? My confusion was not an event that happened once and then ended, but it continued a while before it ended, if it did. (I assure you that my confusion has not yet ended! Does that make a difference in the chosen form?)
Any help would be appreciated.
I think you're right: "confondere" includes both "confuse" and "confound" and has many other meanings. Here are some of them: • to mix without an order: Ha confuso i libri della biblioteca (He confounded the books of the library); Le tue parole mi confondono le idee (Your words confound my thoughts). It can be reflexive! e.g. Mi sono confuso tra la folla (I confused/hid in the crowd) • to mistake two things or people: L'ho confusa con la sorella (I've mistaken her for her sister) • to confuse, to disorient, to take the clarity of one's thoughts away: L'esercizio mi ha confuso (The exercises confused me). It can mean "to impress" -you can be confused/impressed by someone's skills or someone's compliments-.
This one (to disorient) has a reflexive form: mi sono confuso -not "mi ho confuso ;)-, ti sei confuso, si è confuso/a and so on. With the reflexive you avoid saying what is the matter of the confusion. To express it, you don't use "subject-verb-object", but you need some prepositions or locutions such as "per via di", "a causa di" etc.. Or else the "gerundio" tense: Mi sono confuso per via/a causa di quell'esercizio; Ti sei confuso udendo quelle parole. We also use "confondersi" to say that someone has made confusion in his own thoughts while talking, or answering a question, for example.
As you can see, people can "confondere" things and other people, things can "confondere" people and other things, and people can "confondere" themselves!
About your second point, I believe there are some instances where the past imperfect CAN be used, so you should report it the next time this confusing exercise comes up (:
I may have confused you a little more, but I do hope I haven't!
The default Past Participle is confuso. You have changed it to confusa, which is correct in some circumstances, but not this one (maybe - see below):
Past participles only changes in two instances:
1. when the auxiliary verb is essere; the past participle agree with the subject of the sentence; here the auxiliary is avere, so even if the subject is feminine, the PP would not change to feminine form (confusa), [An example of such use: Lei è confusa - "She is confused".]
- Even when the auxiliary is avere, the PP agrees with any direct object which precedes the verb:
l'esercizio ha confuso mia moglie - "The exercise has confused my wife"
l'esercizio la ha confusa - "The exercise has confused her"
We don't know whether mi is masculine or feminine, so in the right context, if mi were referring to a female person, then confusa would be correct (rule 2 above). However, since there is no context supplied, you have to assume that it's the default gender, which is masculine. Basically, if you don't know and can't tell, it's masculine.
So, you're not wrong - you're just not right.
Why 'mi ha fatto confondere' and not something along the lines of 'mi ha confondato'? (Disclaimer: I don't know if confondato is an Italian word, I may have invented it). But my point is, why can't we simply change confondere into past simple? Why does it remain in it's infinitive form? I understand the inclusion of 'fatto' indicates it's in the past tense but why use fatto at all? Can't confondere change to reflect the tense? I don't know if I've made myself clear. Does anyone understand what I'm asking?
Actually, your question is still pertinent. I was wondering why it was not mi ha fatto confuso - why it is "has made me to confuse" rather than "has made me confused" - unless confondere means "to be confused" rather than "to confuse/confond". I still don't understand why the infinitive is used here as the "correct" answer.
My Italian is a little rusty, but I think DL is using the infinitive "confondersi" (to become blurred, hazy or confused) after the causative verb "fare", so it translates as "This exercise has made me (become) confused". See https://learnamo.com/en/causative-verbs-italian/. I'm not sure if this helps, but I hope it does.
Literal translations don't usually work grammatically in the other language. You would probably be understood by a native speaker, but you'd be grammatically wrong. The reason the grammar is important is because it doesn't do any good to learn another language if you still sound like you're using a cheap phrase book or a bad translator. (No offense intended.)