This whole unit is maddeningly inconsistent in allowable translations of the imperfect into English:
I would put the plates on the table, I used to put the plates on the table, I was putting the plates on the table, I put the plates on the table…
All of these variants work and should be accepted. But the owl is particularly inscrutable here -- it wants what it wants. And I used to think that he was my friend...
Languages are just patterns of expression, emerging out of things that make sense. Different languages produce different patterns and therefore different ways of making sense, though from the perspective of one language, another language's sense may seem less sensible.
Your question is perfectly reasonable and deserves an answer beyond a single opinion. If you search Google nGrams (https://books.google.com/ngrams) you'll see "nel tavolo" is almost never used in comparison to "sul tavolo."
Meanwhile, comparing "nel piatto" with "sul piatto" shows relatively equal usage.
Pretty nice tool, thanks a lot. Concerning my previous comment, I should have expressed myself a bit more neutral. What I meant was that to every rule there is at least one exception. It is a good rule of thumb and empirically I can confirm that, which, of course, is a rather small sample.
I feel like this is a bad sentence to use. As it is, I don't see anything that necessitates the past imperfect. 'ho metto' would work just as well with this particular phrase. It's not a confusing sentence, but if people are trying to work out when to use p.p. and when to use the imperfetto, this does not help.
Yeah, I understand. But these exercise seem to be teaching how to use imperfetto, without teaching us when to use imperfetto. So I find it adding to my confusion because the context that would normally tell me to use imperfetto is missing. What I already knew about when to use imperfetto and p.p. is getting confused because so many of the examples are missing that rest of the phrase that would signal the use of imperfetto.
EdithFaber: It's not "I had put" since it's the imperfect tense and I had put is past perfect. As written 'mettevo' would be "I put, I used to put, or I would put (or as DL accepts "I'd) -- as in: when I was a child, I would (I'd) always put the plates on the table." It doesn't mean 'I had put' at all.
That's true and a translation of "I'd" I hadn't thought of as I was focused on responding to MichaelUys1. You're correct. Your reading of it would be more obvious if the context were expanded as in "I'd always put the plates on the table when I was a child because that was my job."
Not native, 1st generation in America, but I think the difference is that 'la tavola' is used to refer to the dinner table in expressions like "A tavola!" = Come to dinner, dinner's ready, etc. "Il tavolo" is the table itself as for example in a restaurant. So if one were asking if a table were free, one would use "tavolo": Avete un tavolo per due?
Johannes7: Yes, and there's a very good reason why: "I'd" can be interpreted as a past tense - "I would" as in a habitual action in the past: "When I was a child I'd always put (I would always put) the plates on the table for my mother. That's a correct interpretation of the imperfect. "I had" is not. It's past perfect, which is why it's incorrect, and "I'd" is accepted.
Prego. You can also think of it like this: "I'd" = BOTH "I would" and "I had" , so e.g. "I would eat fish every friday when I was a child AND "I had eaten fish every friday before I moved to America." The first is the equivalent of the imperfect, the second is the past perfect.
Ugo...No, they're not equal at all. "I'd" is the contraction of "I would" not "I did". So in this case the verb being in the imperfect, the choice is "I was putting" or "I would/I'd put" for a habitual action in the past. Example" When I was a boy, I would/I'd always put the plates on the table for my mother." "I did put the plates on the table" implies a one time past action best translated by the present perfect tense.
Frrances...The answer that I see at the top of this page is: "I was putting..." not "I had put" -- which is the past perfect tense = Avevo messo...That said, "I'd put" can also be an abbreviated form of "I would put" which is the idea behind the imperfect tense, i.e., "I would put the plates on the table when I was a child". That is probably why you were given it as a correct answer. So to sum up, "I'd" here does not stand for "I had" but "I would" referring to an habitual action in the past.
Pete, You're correct, DL's wrong if that's what they said. The answer I see above reads: I was putting... -- which is correct. I suspect the answer you were given was a typo on DL's part. Another option would be: I used to put, since the tense is used for habitual past actions.
Even though the sentence "I was putting the plates on the table." is a complete sentence, it doesn't convey a complete thought. The sentence needs the addition of "when this/something happened"...... Or the sentence proceeding it should be: "What were you doing when this/something happened?" I was putting the plates on the table! Without any context the sentence is a waste of learning time.