I was expecting the only correct translation to be "I WILL finish the cake by dinner". Italians use the Present Tense to express also the near future, and the Present Tense in English doesn't make much sense to me in this example, unless I perform this action everyday... Am I wrong?
To help it make more English sense, consider that when you usually talk to people you speak in the past tense, but you would narrate in the present tense.
Imagine: "I finish the cake by dinner just as Sara arrives at my door, the bell announcing her call. I open the door and invite her inside."
You're just used to saying, "So, Jeffrey, last night I finished the cake by dinner just as Sara arrived at my door," when you speak with people.
This sentence is pretty much nonsense: no one (in the UK, at any rate) would say "I finish the cake by dinner"; if the sentence read "...by dinner time", I'd have understood immediately. Ironically, though, oddities like this are very memorable! NB, the following is from the Collins Italian dictionary: 'entro febbraio' = ' by the end of February'.
I think TiagoMoita_PT is right. I have been told that it is normal to use the present for the near (or certain) future, while one who expresses a future action in future tense is indicating that he might and might not get around to it. "Finisco la torta entro cena." might respond to a question like 'Did you make the cake yet?'
Because entro does not mean "at". Here's the definition in un dizionario Italiano , and I hope this resource and its Inglese friend save you from asking "why not?" ever again. https://dizionari.repubblica.it/Italiano/E/entro.html
Thanks, but in my limited knowlegde of English the meaning is not exactly the same to the Italian phrase. By dinner means when the dinner actually starts, but here I think it means to finish the cake before dinner actually starts. Just confused. Sorry for asking trivial questions.
This seems to me a very clumsy use of the word "by" because it is not really very clear in it's meaning. "Entro" in German "innerhalb" in English "within" would translate "I finish the cake within dinner", which signals that someone finishes the cake in the time dinner might take. The word "by" says rather than "within" "before" dinner. To give an example: "by the time (or before) I got there, the train had left". Of course I know that languages are not always totally interchangeable and therefore I would wish that DUO took this in consideration and gave examples which express the Italian usage of a word or a phrase more clearly.
Finished is the past tense. The italian verb is the present tense, so you need finish (or "am finishing").
"Finish off" is commonly used colloquial English. It has overtones of (a) finishing the final remnants of something and/or (b) finishing something quickly and definitively. I would have thought there was a specific Italian expression for this. Native speakers please comment!
You may also come across "polish off", which is interchangable. It derives from the final cleaning of a piece of woodwork or metalwork, but is colloquially applied to anything
My first thought was like: I end the cake during dinner, i. e. while a tackle various courses of dinner there is always the cake to eat in between. Then my higher brain functions kicked in and I thought a more likely if temporarily challenged translation would be: I will have finished the cake by dinner.
Is it me or are some of the Italian sentences just plain weird. I'm doing German and Spanish along with Italian, but the Italian stuff is either much more colloquial, or the sentences are just a random collection of words.
"I finish the cake by dinner."
If that means that I am going to eat this cake, and by the time dinner starts, I will have eaten it, then surely is there a better way to say it. Otherwise, it's a huge stretch for this sentence to ever be used by anyone ever.
The Collins dictionary does not mention "during" anywhere. It gives several examples of both "within" and "by". In all cases the sense is effectively <in the time between now and> <time word or phrase>.
If this is accurate - and Collins normally is - then the problem is in the translation to English. It has got to be "dinner time" (or dinnertime, which is a correct abbreviation). Perhaps "cena" does carry the sense of a time?