I think you are right . . .
As far as I figured out the italian imperfetto is used to talk about
• Things that used to happen in the past
• Things that repeatedly happened in the past
• Passage of time in the past
• One’s age at a point in the past
• Weather in the past
• What you were doing when something else occurred
• How someone looked in the past
• Describing a scene to set up a story
• Events that happened simultaneously in the past
• One’s state of mind in the past
. . and as Provavamo is imperfect of provare this sentence has to be about that we used to try, or repeatedly tried . . for hours.
But depending on context and according to Reverso.net "provavamo" can also be translated as: we tried / we rehearsed / we were trying / we were rehearsing / we used to rehearse / we practiced / were feeling / we felt / we're trying
Can anybody verify or tell what we are missing?
Agree - 'used to' normally represents a special situation in what DL calls the past imperfect. It not necessarily wrong but could misrepresent the intention of the speaker. It's habitual use by DL to represent almost all cases of the past imperfect is in my opinion misleading.
I think it's because, "We used to try for hours" would translate as "Abbiamo usato provare per ore". "We used to try for hours", suggests repeated attempts of a particular event for hours at a time. "We were trying for hours", suggests a singular event for hours at a time.
The correct answer is, "We used to try for hours", which is a different statement than "We were trying for hours". The first statement suggests having made several attempts at something, for hours at a time. The second statement suggests just one attempt at something, for hours.
No it isn't :) with "since" I think we should use the present or past perfect, but it's not always the case with "for". We have been trying for hours (which incidentally is present perfect not past perfect) means that we may still be trying now. Past perfect - we had been trying for hours - would mean we tried for hours before we succeeded or gave up or something else happened. We were trying for hours is probably intended to emphasise the "ongoingness" or length of time of the action, and past simple - we tried for hours - doesn't seem to imply anything extra. At least that's how I see it :)
Thanks for your explanation, that makes sense. But here the English translation is still different, as it uses we used to try for hours. Is that because of the imperfetto "provavamo"? I understand that the imperfect tense is used to talk about recurrent iterative actions, and the best way to formulate that in English might be with used to, but still I find it strange to combine these two. To make it short: I don't like the English translation :p
So far, from the phrases and verbs I have encountered, Duo has done a poor job of being consistent in its translation. Until we know the actual intended meaning, we have no way of knowing what the "correct" translation is. In other words, you might actually be correct, but are being marked Wrong by the system. Or vice versa.
No. To do something hourly, is to do a specific thing each and every hour. For example: To take a tablet hourly. (To take one tablet every hour). An hourly weather forecast. (A weather forecast for every hour).
To do something for hours means, to do a specific thing non-stop for a continuous number of hours.
It seems Duo adds "used to" or "would" with English translations for the imperfetto to establish the concept of this as the "storytelling" tense - i.e., things that occured in the past without a definitive time. Is that an accurate assumption? I was wondering of "we tried for hours" would be an accurate translation for this particular sentence with proper context. For something like "I never learned to play the piano, even though Grandma tried many times to teach me. We tried for hours." But if there was a specific point in time as reference, i.e. "This morning, we could not find your house. We tried for hours" then passato prossimo is the appropriate tense?