1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Portuguese
  4. >
  5. "Os colegas não chegavam."

"Os colegas não chegavam."

Translation:The colleagues would not arrive.

September 16, 2013



The colleagues did not use to arrive. They marked this as wrong. Why? "The colleagues would not arrive" was the correct answer. But wouldn't that be, "Os colegas não chegariam." Poderia explicar?


Would can also work as "used to" (except for some verbs like "be, like, live, have"). Used to is also right, so just report!


I agree, and it would have been nice if this answer/comment had been corrected years ago!


According to my portuguese grammar book, the imperfect tense in portuguese is very frequently used especially in the spoken language, to replace the conditional tense, ie it can be translated "would....". For example "ela disse que vinha a uma "= "she said she would come at one oclock" . (Excuse the missing accent in the portuguese, I can,t figure out how to insert them on my tablet. Fortunately DL is very forgiving.

[deactivated user]

    The sentence as it is written in English is odd, without further context it doesn't sound right. The colleague didn't arrive works better for me.

    [deactivated user]

      As well as The colleagues never arrived.


      Os colegas não chegavam a tempo. = The imperfect describes a repeated action over the past without a definite delination of start or finish.

      • The colleagues didn't arrive on time.
      • The colleagues didn't use to arrive on time.
      • The colleagues weren't arriving on time when I worked there.

      Would is used when looking back in time to express a repeated action. It is usually introduced by an adverbial clause to emphasize a more distant past.

      When I was a girl, I would ride my bike to school until the weather got very cold.


      Thanks for using context with your examples.


      Did not arrive is the right one. Would not arrive has a different meaning


      "Would" can work here. That is to say, in some contexts where Portuguese uses the past imperfect, English uses "would." For example,

      She desperately wanted to see them again. Every day, just at sunset, she would sit quietly in the garden, hoping the faeries would appear.


      why is "colleagues" the only accepted translation in this context for "colegas"? When I'm in Portugal with family and friends, we also use it for "roommate" or "friend" or other meanings, depending on the context. I've always thought of it as a much wider and more flexible word than the english "colleague" but I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something before I reported it...

      (My answer translated the sentence as "The friends did not arrive," by the way)



      Thanks for your hint.

      I reported "The friends would not arrive" today (colegas is actually hinted as "friends" in parallel).


      does the Os before colegas indicate gender? like if you were speaking about a group of female colleagues it would be "As colegas?" Or is colega just an exception that always requires a masculine article?


      Yes and no, rssr, we usually say "Os" for a group with only men, or a group with one hundred of girls and one single little boy, the collective form is masculine. For a group made of women you can say "As colegas", "As colegas de trabalho", etc.


      And I thought "colegas" could also mean "classmates."


      Yes, since it comes from "colegas de classe".


      We struggle with this every other exercise. Maybe there is no single fix to express what chegavam really means. There is used to. There is would. There is never. For this sentence, personally I would say the colleagues just weren't arriving.

      [deactivated user]

        It's the lack of context that makes it difficult.


        Someone could help with the difference between "come" and "arrive"?


        In this sentence, come or arrive would make very little difference. But normally, arrive expresses a focus on reaching a destination (in this case here where the speaker is) whereas come doesn't. It can be used whenever somebody moves from A to B, no matter if they are just leaving, on their way or arriving.


        I liked the idea of linking "arrive" with "reach the destination". I think I need to look for more examples of "come" to understand the concept. Thanks!


        Your question has got me interested in a challenge that I wasn't even aware of. Looking up 'to come' in a Portuguese dictionary, all I get is 'vir', which translates as 'to go'. So maybe the real question is, what's the difference between 'to go' and 'to come'.

        Portuguese uses the same word for both but there's a difference in English and it is described here:


        You go (away from the speaker or the person being spoken to) but you come towards them.

        'To arrive' is not really a synonym of either, but rather what happens at the end of any journey... it's the 'opposite' of 'to depart'. Think of arrivals and departures at the airport...


        At level 23, you must be aware that "ir" and "vir" are distinct words in Portuguese. Since their use is entirely parallel to English use of "to go" and "to come," I am puzzled by your comment.


        The use of "come" and "go" are not used the same way.

        When someone is waiting for me to go with them, I would say "Wait for me. I'm coming!" In Portuguese, the expression is Estou indo.

        Are you coming with me? = [Você] vai comigo?


        I agree with Ketutsf, "to go" in Portuguese is "ir", however....

        What confuses me is some sentences like this one (from the link that bradsytone have posted):

        • "May I come to your party, too?"

        Which, for me, would be translated to:

        • "Eu posso ir a sua festa também?"

        So, in this example, "come" becomes "ir". If the party is hosted by the listener, the movement couldn't be "toward the speaker". I wonder if that happens because the sentence is a question.

        What do you guys think?


        I forgot to say that I don't agree with that "level part" in any way.

        I seems it has a difference between the two languages.


        • Hoje eu irei à sua festa e semana que vem você virá à minha (festa).

        • Hoje nós iremos à festa dela e semana que vem ela virá à nossa (festa).

        (For me, it depends on the person who speaks or does the action)

        English (feel free to correct me):

        • Today I am coming to your party and next week you are coming to mine.

        • Today we are going to her party and next week she is coming to ours.

        Thanks for helping me


        How stupid of me... I guess level 23 doesn't mean I can't make a beginner's mistake! Back to your question about go and come: if I say: May I come to your party, too?, I am moving in the direction of the person being spoken to. That's why I'd use come not go. If it was not a question, I can still say: I am coming to your party, too. I will be going to where the person being spoken to will be at that time. I am going to the party, too doesn't necessarily imply that the person being spoken to will be there. Is it different in Portuguese, I wonder?


        Exemplo: Eu já estava esperando há muito tempo, porém os meus colegas não CHEGAVAM (pretérito imperfeito). Fui ficando ansioso de tanto esperar. Depois de uma hora, CHEGARAM todos (pretérito perfeito).


        I knew that The Owl wanted "The colleagues would not arrive". Nonetheless, I hopefully submitted "the colleagues didn't get here", because that IS an equally accurate translation, maybe even better. But, The Owl was not swayed. Pity ...

        • 1250

        I don't understand why this is am imperfect tense rather than a simple past tense. The sentence seems to refer to a single rather than a recurring event.


        "didn't use to" is not really good English. Better is "used not to". But not allowed - yet! Keep reporting, fellow Duolinguists. "Would" is good too - as in "In my teens, I would have a haircut only once a year."

        Learn Portuguese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.