"The hotel was finally being opened"
How would we write the above in Dutch?
It is the same in Dutch. Worden = "is being" and werden = "was being" already imply an ongoing action. English does not have a passive verb that implies the ongoing action, so in English it can be added with "being" to stress the ongoing nature of the action.
The hotel is (being) opened = Het hotel wordt geopend (ongoing action) The hotel has been opened = Het hotel is geopend (completed action) The hotel was (being) opened = Het hotel werd geopend (ongoing action, past) The hotel had been opened = Het hotel was geopend (completed action, past)
The above shows the grammatical mapping. Note the different uses of is/was in each language. English and Dutch differ in general usage of these passive forms, so it is hard to map them in all sentences. In practice, we very often use the "was" form in English when we actually imply the "has been" or even "had been" forms of the passive. Also, English is not so bothered by the clear difference between ongoing and static actions. This all adds to the difficulty in doing translations. As far as I can see, Duolingo tries to stick closely to the grammatical mappings above.
I hope it helps.
Coming back to this two years later...
My knowledge of Dutch has improved but I still struggle with these grammatical details. I think though that's because I had a misunderstanding of the translations.
If we are talking about a completed action in English then I could say both:
- The hotel had been opened.
- The hotel was opened.
But in Dutch both of those would just be: Het hotel is geopend.
If we talk about an ongoing action in English then I think I would personally never just say: The hotel was opened.
To me the above is a completed action and only a completed action.
For an ongoing action occurring in the past, I would likely always add a form of to be somewhere in the sentence.
- The hotel was being opened.
- Het hotel werd geopend.
Perhaps there are examples in English where the above wouldn't occur, but I can't think of them momentarily.
To put some emphasis on the continuous aspect of the action, you could say "Het hotel was eindelijk geopend aan het worden", but that sounds very unnatural to me. Personally, I would simply use "Het hotel werd eindelijk geopend".