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  5. "Abbiamo avuto ospiti a cena …

"Abbiamo avuto ospiti a cena ieri."

Translation:We had guests at dinner yesterday.

September 2, 2013



Why is this not equally well translated 'we have had'?


That's not a good use of the perfect tense, since yesterday is a specific time in the past. http://www.englishpage.com/verbpage/presentperfect.html


You're right that it makes more sense in English as 'we had'; I guess what I'm trying to figure out is why this same distinction doesn't hold in Italian (ie, they seem to use the present perfect for this situation).


The tenses don't line up exactly between the two languages. There are other examples, such as Italians using the future where we use the present, or their using the present where we use the future. It's not surprising.


I wonder the same thing


You just have to understand that in Italian you use present perfect in a different way than in English.

Italian "ho avuto ospiti ieri" is "I had guests yesterday."

However, "ho avuto ospiti" would be "I have had guests."


Would you mind labeling the tenses of the two sentences above? It seems that the first sentence is in Present Perfect (Passato Prossimo) but it does specify a time frame, 'yesterday'. To quote from Hazablad, below, "We use the Present Perfect to say that an action happened at an unspecified time before now. The exact time is not important. You cannot use the Present Perfect with the specific time expressions such as: yesterday, one year ago, last week, when I was a child...etc." Grazie per il tuo aiuto!


I think they should have naimed this part, this session, "Passato Prossimo" and not the "Present Perfect". Cause this sentence obviously doesn't have anything to do with Present Perfect.


What's your idea of the present perfect?


I'm not sure what exactly you are asking me. If you are reffering to the comprehension of the Present Perfect, well I can just write here what I have read in the books. "We use the Present Perfect to say that an action happened at an unspecified time before now. The exact time is not important. You cannot use the Present Perfect with the specific time expressions such as: yesterday, one year ago, last week, when I was a child...etc." Considering that, the sentence "We had guests at dinner yesterday" cannot be in Present Perfect. So, why is it here? Because, I believe, it belongs to the Passato Prossimo in Italian. And, because of that I said that they should have naimed this session "Passato Prossimo". After all, we are learning here Italian, not English. And they should not make parallels between times in English and Italian, cause they are not the same.


Actually that's close to what I said above, so we seem to agree.


Oh! It's exactly what I am thinking about it, we are learning Italian. Thanks for your comments


Now I'm really confused: I thought Present Perfect is Passato Prossimo.


Just forget everything you have read here. It makes sense but there will be an easier explanation to understand on the internet.


You have to use a very Italian part of your brain to be able to translate any of these sentences correctly. It's becoming more Italian minded. Feel like I'm becoming slightly schizofrenic every time I have a sentence wrong, because I'm translating it 'too English'


Activates pasta section of brain


My italian uncle says 'you can learn a language, but you'll never understand the people' and this is true because i don't understand why italians make their sentences so complicated.


Why doesn't one use l'imperfetto here then? Or, in Italian, what is the difference between the passato prossimo and the imperfetto?


Imperfetto is used for something that happened over an extended period of time in the past but is no longer happening, or for something that was habitual: "Quando ero giovane, nuotavo ogni domenica." When I was young, I went swimming (I swam) every Sunday. Passato prossimo is for something that happened at a particular point in time: We had guests yesterday: "Abbiamo avuto ospiti ieri".


That would be good to know.


Damned if you do, damned if you don't. My instinct was to write 'we had guests', but so often DL has required a more literal than idiomatic translation and so I settled for 'we have had guests'... Only to be marked wrong!


Can't we say " Noi avuto ospiti a cena ieri "?


I agree with you, I thought the same thing. Why hasn't anyone answered your question.


Because "avuto" is the past participle of the verb "to have". It does not stand alone, but needs a helping (auxiliary) verb, e.g., "abbiamo avuto" (we had), "ho avuto" (I had)...There is no such construction as "noi avuto".


Why "abbiamo avuto" is not "we have had"?


I thought abbiamo = we have. Not we had.


Not convinced that the rule about specific/non specific is rigid. "We've had guests to dinner yesterday and so I'm not having anyone else today" It could be "we had". However the version with the present perfect adds a note of exasperation!


ospiti could in this context be translated as visitors, as well as as guests. I know there is a word visitori but it would work in English.


Why not, 'We had guests to dinner yesterday?' It's better English to my mind!


Guests and visitors are the same here. Visitors should be accepted.


"We have had guests to dinner yesterday" is a perfectly acceptable answer!

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