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  5. "Quando passava lei diventava…

"Quando passava lei diventava rosso."

Translation:When she passed by he became red.

February 5, 2015



Could it also be that "lei" is the subject of "diventava" and mean:" when he passed by she became red"? How would you know which verb has "lei" for its subject?


well it says right in the sentence. you should divide it like this: quando passava lei-when she passed by; and diventava rosso-he became red (you know it's masculine because it says rosso,not rossa). i hope this explains something. :)


A little longer pause after "lei" would have been helpful.


it sure would, but italian is not very fond of commas. the sentence actually makes sense, it'll come to you naturally after some time.


Quando passava (lei) = when he/she/it passed by
(Quando passava) lei = when he/ she /it passed by
diventava rosso = he/she/it became red


Like German: you wait until the end of the sentence to to get it. But "diventava rosso" is better translated "blushed."


But "Blushed" in Italian is "arrossire."


Yes, it is. But when we translate into English, which of the following would you be happiest with?

She was painting the barn with a spray gun, and when she passed he became red.

He had already been in the sun too long, and she noticed when she passed by he was sunburned (became red).

When she passed by, he immediately converted to Soviet communism (became red).

When she passed by, he blushed (became red).

Etc. We might imagine other contexts to explain his color change, but Duo doesn't give us any. The English phrase "became red" has too many possible senses, and we should choose the one that is most likely, and state it in the best English we can muster rather than word-for-word conversion.

Because the Italian doesn't use the word "arrosire" is not sufficient reason to reject a sensible translation. Going the other way, "He flew down the street" would not be best translated by "volare" but by "correre" even though the English doesn't use the verb "sped."


when it comes to duolingo, we all know how it's safer to use more literal translations ;)


Ah, ma giocare sul sicuro è ne dolersi. Non vero? Avventurarsi! :)


very helpful, thanks


In this case it would be more than logical to use a comma in that sentence! "Quando passava lei, diventava rossi" I guess Italian has as few commas as English... we put them everywhere in Estonian :D


So do we in Croatian, and I said up there that it really would've been helpful, but once you analyse the sentence more carefully and realize that 'lei diventava rosso' just couldn't be a sentence because rosso is masculine, you see that there really is only one way the sentence could be understood. But it would be useful, that's for sure.


A comma would be appropriate in English, as well.


How would you say "When he passed (by) her he turned red"


Easy. Add the preposition: Quando passava vicino lei diventava rosso. "Passare" has the sense of "pass by" but it's intransitive - no direct object - so "la passava" is not possible. But "near her" (where "lei" is the indirect object form) certainly is.


This explains it well. Thank you.


Yes, of course. Must be very attentive


It confused me too


why not 'when she was passing, he became red'?


A comma is necessary.


Yea, this is confusing.


A comma might be helpful to a beginning learner, but it is not necessary. See the explanations at the start of this page.


why not turned red?


its absolutely correct considering the context, but 'diventava' means 'became' and after all this exercise is supposed to test your knowledge about verbs.


Yes, in America we say that someone turns " red rather than becomes red more often. I think that should be accepted too. Let's report it and see what happens.


Yes, in Britain also. "He became red" is simply not good colloquial English


People even say "going red" and "went red".


When I first read this I thought, "When she passed by it became red". It being a traffic light, semàforo, for example. Another possibility would be some sort of warning light, such as on a door to a restricted area. Are these also correct interpretations?


Why not When she would pass he would become red?


That eould require the conditional tense. This section /exercise is using the imperfect tense


You are right that English "would" sometimes must be translated into the Italian conditional tense (il condizionale). For example, in a sentence like this:
"If I were rich, I would buy her a car."

However, use of "would" in English is not always conditional. That is, it does not always trigger a translation into the Italian conditional tense . For example, consider this English sentence:
"When the water was warm, we would swim for hours".

In the sentence above, the use of "would" does not signal the conditional but rather repetitive or customary action. The correct translation into Italian is therefore the imperfect (l'imperfetto dell'indicativo).


Is passava followed by lei just to emphasize that it is a female who's passing and do we always add the pronoun after the verb in cases such as this?


it's better to think that the verb (almost) always follows 'quando' directly. then everything else follows the verb.


So I guess she can't blush when she passes by? Not very progressive, I see.


"rosso" is masculine, so, it couldn't be "she". But it could be "it".


....... so if he became red, why does it not read "quando passava l u i diventava rosso ???"


Edith, take a look at the other comments on this page. The second clause does not require the 'lui' to communicate that 'he' is becoming red, because the masculine ending on the adjective 'rosso' suffices for that.

On the other hand, the opening words, 'quando passava', do not by themselves determine whether their subject is male or female. That clause therefore cries out for a clarifying subject. So it is natural to interpret the pronoun that follows those words as the subject of the first clause, not as the subject of the second clause.

So the DuoLingo sentence with 'lei' means 'As she passed by, he became red'; and your suggested sentence means 'As he passed by, he became red'.

In speaking the Italian, there would be a pause between the two clauses, like this: Quando passava lei [pause] diventava rosso.


Thank you very much, very nicely explained! Have a nice day!


So if I understand this correctly, the literal translation would be when he passed by her, he became red. Yes?


No. The literal translation is "When she passed by, he became red". It is SHE who is doing the passing, not HE.


It is difficult to translate this sentence out of context. How is one supposed to kmow whethrr it is he or she?


See the explanations by anamarija_k or ion1122 in earlier posts.


The Italian sentence is in imperfetto. Why duo translation is in simple past?


English does not make the same distinctions in verb tense as Italian does. One often uses the simple past in English to describe ongoing or habitual situations.

For example: "Whenever she passed by, he grew red." This is an habitual situation and so would be imperfetto in Italian, but in English the simple past here is quite idiomatic.


Das gleiche Problem wie schon einmal. Trotz richtiger Antwort kein Weiterkommen. Bitte beheben.


The comma should be after "lei", not before. The meaning then becomes clearer.


In written Italian, there is no comma, either before or after"lei". But yes, in speaking there should be a pause after"lei", not before.


Would "quando LEI passava.." also be possible? Or has LEI to follow? Can anybody tell a rule?Thanks!


By translating into Italian I wrote "Quando lei passava lui diventava rosso." and this was accepted by Duo. But even though it seems grammatically and literally right, I guess that "Quando passava lei diventava rosso." Or even "Quando passava lei diventava rosso lui." sounds better for an italian ear. The last sentence is emphasising the lui, meaning he turned red while somebody else did not in the same situation.


oh, and what is wrong with redden


I think it's just too exotic.


Another confusing sentence that relies on memorization rather than learning and understanding to get right.


On the contrary. This sentence relies on a knowledge of Italian to get it right, and for that reason is a good sentence to include in a learning program.


How do we know it is HE?


Steve, read my earlier response to Edith on this page. Your question is answered there.


Thank you so much, Ion. It makes no sense to me at present so your help is much appreciated.


Could someone please tell me why diventava has been conjugated, should it not be the root verb as it has just followed passava which has also been conjugated ?


6hxvEzF4, your analysis of the sentence is off. There is no "root verb". What we have here are two separate clauses, each with its own subject and its own conjugated verb: she passes by, he grows red. Note that exactly the same structure occurs in English as well.

I think what is confusing you is that in the Italian, the subject word "he" is not explicitly stated, whereas in English it is. The Italian does not need to state the pronoun "he" because the adjective "rosso" has a masculine ending that makes it clear that the unstated subject must be masculine.

Because the subject "he" of the second clause is not explicitly stated in the Italian, you may have failed to notice that a new clause has begun here -- not a continuation of the first clause.

In speaking, there would be a pause between the two clauses, like this: Quando passava lei [pause] diventava rosso.


Yes, but the sentence did not say "quando passava lei diventava rosso". It said "quando passava, lei diventava rosso."


I am looking at the Italian sentence at the top of this page. There is no comma in it.


I didn't make a screen shot of the page, and I can't go back and find a page I did quite some time ago, but there certainly was a comma.


In Italian, one way the imperfect tense is used is to express an action in the past that went on simultaneously with another action. Therefore, both verbs are conjugated in the imperfect. Another example (from Barron's 501 Italian Verbs), is "Mentre mia madre leggeva, mio padre guardava la TV."

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