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  5. "A diretora pediu que os alun…

"A diretora pediu que os alunos falassem o que tinha acontecido."

Translation:The director asked the students to tell what had happened.

September 28, 2013



The Portuguese is great... but I'm being forced to imagine English sentences that are wobbly at best... please screen the "translate to English" questions more effectively


why does the Portuguese vernacular here use "falar" and not "contar" or "dizer"? I have generally understood in this context that "falar" meant "to speak" and "contar", "to tell" and "dizer", "to say" or "to tell".


In this case, the three verbs (falar, contar and dizer) work as synonyms.


"The director asked the students to say what (had) happened." Also accepted.


But not "the principal".


I translated this "The director asked the students to say what had happened." and it was marked wrong. I reported this. DuoLingo suggested "The director asked the students say what had happened." and I think this is not as natural or common in English, although an alternative translation that I think feels more natural to me would be: "The director asked that the students say what had happened."


There suggestion is not grammatically correct. Just reading it in my mind sounds wrong. The correct way would be to include "to" and translate diretora to "principal" not director. The correct translation: "The principal asked the students to say what had happened".


"Ask" allows both indicative and subjunctive forms.

The director asked the students to say what... (infinitive clause - indicative)

The director asked that the students say what... (subjunctive)


Unlike many "command/advise" verbs, ask requires an infinitive clause rather than a that-clause as a complement.

The director asked the students to say what had happened.



Hmm, that would be a level of strictness in use of English that I wouldn't hold anyone to. I also don't see anything on that page you link to, that says that "Ask that..." is not a valid construction. Even if I did find one source making that claim, though, I'd still disagree. I'm a native speaker and I think language is flexible, I don't like the idea of extremely strict enforcement. This isn't something as egregious as misuse of their / they're / there, or things like that, grammatically incorrect things that are confusing or abrasive to read because the words have a different meaning.

I did a quick google search and found these constructions are very common in English, and that they have been around for a long time, for example this 1868 source:


And the construction is used in the Common English Bible translation:


So, yeah, I disagree.


You are correct! It is more formal than the infinitive construction, but it is used as well.


I wrote: "The director asked the students to say what had happened." But Duolingo said I used the wrong word - it should be "to tell" instead of "to say". What is wrong with my solution?


Your answer is correct.

If you use "tell", you need a direct object:

The director asked the students to tell him what [had] happened.


Accepted as of January 2019


The director asked the students to:

tell her


. . .what had happened.

Is the correct English.

Although not grammatically incorrect, "tell" on its own is very unusual, pre 1940, upper-class English.


Mine should have worked: "The principal asked the students to say what had happened."


I wrote "the director asked the students to say what had happened" and was marked wrong for using "to" (?!?) Help, anyone? I have reported it.


"The director requested..." was marked wrong. Any idea why?


have we learned the subjunctive yet??


Bem, não muito , enquanto você fui fora pra fumar maconha, lemos nossos textos nos celulares...

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