1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Italian
  4. >
  5. "Come hai potuto?"

"Come hai potuto?"

Translation:How could you?

October 15, 2013



Meaning what?

1.) How have you been able to achieve this wonderful thing?

2.) What have you done, you fool?

Both of these? Rather the one more than the other?


You can use it on both. For me, sounds more appropriate to the second choice.


Does this have any implied connotations of judgement? As in: "You put a snake in my newspaper! How COULD you?"


All right, thansks!


How could you have?


I have just put that too and been marked wrong but I believe it to be acceptable/right. Google translate agrees.


The number two, absolutely.


What is the significance of "hai" in this sort of a sentence? Does it go towards the meaning "How could you _have done_?"


I believe so. It's something to do with the tenses, imperfect this and past participle that... I didn't study grammar and I don't understand it yet, but it will come—as did all the other complex ideas before this point!


That's actually a very good point and is something that's driving me through the frustrating lessons: as I go further and further, all the differences between English and Italian is slowly becoming internalized! It's a good feeling. Thanks for the reply!


Yes it's a great feeling, very satisfying. I struggled with things like conjugations/objects/clitic pronouns and although I'm not perfect yet, I have a fair idea of what's going on!

Duolingo might say they teach language by immersion, I don't really believe that. But their complete lack of guidance means at least when you go out to learn the grammatical rules yourself, the effort leads to a deeper understanding!


"Hai" is 2nd person ("you") for "have," but the "have" here is part of the construction of the past tense, so the "hai" here basically makes it a "you" and past tense. Potuto is past participle of Potere ("to be able to/can"), so it's "How were you able to? How could you?"


Ho = I have, hai = you have, ha = he/she/it has


That is correct. "Come tu hai potuto? Come ha potuto? Come lei/lui ha potuto?.


"How could you have?" wasn't accepted. Should it be?


"How could you have" Not accepted 24 Mar 2018. Reported.


Seems acceptable to me as an UK English speaker of many years. I see that Chris392691 above had the same rejected a year ago - maybe DL responses are built to consider that the 'have' at the end is superfluous ?


Why not "how can you?"


"How can you" is present tense, while "How could you" is present perfect (I think; it's another tense either way).

I'm not sure what's different about "How were you able?". It might be an alternative, but I (as a native speaker) would use "could" long before I used "were able" in normal English.


"How were you able to? (climb those steps with crutches), (stay up all night long), (eat 19 hotdogs) etc.


Again, grammatically correct, but "How did you?" feels more natural. Perhaps it's simply my dialect.


how did you = come hai fatto


Or "How were you able?"


duo just accepted

how were you able to?

I feel like that sentence and 'how could you?' are close brothers in English


I wrote this too and was incorrect. One does not dangle a preposition without good reason. I didn't think it was needed.


I understand that present perfect construction in English is: S + have/has + past participle + C. These exercises translate in simple past to my understanding. I will never achieve it :'(


Patricia, you have 14000+ exp points, if you're still having trouble here I'll try to post an in depth answer, but it seems fairly explained above and I think with 14000+ exp, it might be time to remove this comment


"How could you do it?" was deemed wrong. In English, "do it" would be understood, so I included it in my translation, as has sometimes been expected/required for other sentences. I sure wish Duo would be consistent!


Just doesnt have the same ring to it. I wouldnt be able to express my disgust enough. ;)


Learning how to fight when you get married :-)


writing in this language is confusing- i mean actually writing my own thoughts while going through the lessons.


Why did it translate to "how have you been able" what kind of sentence is that


if you even try and put have on the end of this sentence it is rejected. What is the 'hai" there for?


If this were asked of a woman, would then the correct way to ask be "Come hai potuta"?


Not in this case. But I think it could be "potuta" if the auxiliary verb was "essere". For example: Come sei potuta venire qui?


I didn't get any sound for this.


the Italian sounds positive; the English translation more like "what have you done, you fool?!"


why is cosa ellided as cos'ha and come is not com'ha


I think it wouldn't sound good "cosa ha", because the word "cosa" ends with the same vowel "a" that the word "ha" starts( in the spoken language, because "h" is not pronounced while speaking in Italian). While "come" on the other hand, ends with a different vowel ("e"), so we can't apply the same rule here. I'm not a professional, I just wanted to help a little with what I know.
Have a nice day :)


It's like "¿Cómo has podido?" in spanish, right?


Is there a difference in meaning between "come potresti?" and "come hai potuto?"


The faster version sounds like è while the slower version sounds like hai


"Come hai potuto? " Mater: 'Ya did what with a potato?'

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