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  5. "Il tempo si è fermato."

"Il tempo si è fermato."

Translation:Time stopped.

October 15, 2013



So, I've seen è fermato used...but also in an earlier example ha fermato (the captain stopped the ship). So, does it change if the action depends on whether the subject has stopped themselves vs the subject stopped something else?


I believe that the general rule of thumb is whenever you're using a reflexive verb then you use essere, and when it's transitive you use avere. Anyone feel free to speak up if I've got that wrong!


Yes. You're right, you should use 'essere' if it's reflexive word. Transitive or intransitive verb should be used with 'avere' but some verbs that have the 'changing' meaning, such as 'nascere', ' attraversare' etc. should be used with 'essere' too


You are right! Use essere if it is intransitive. Hint ; if the subject and the direct object are the same then it is intransitive.


As you probably already know by now, in this case, the infinitive of the actual verb is "fermarsi", which is the reflexive form of the verb fermare. Reflexive verbs always use "essere" in passato prossimo.


but then why did the other example in the lesson use 'ha fermato' when the captain stopped the ship?


Because stopping something else is not a reflexive verb, but a transitive one, as it takes a direct object. In this sentence, time is stopping itself (reflexive). In the sentence with captain stopping the ship, the captain is the subject and the ship is the direct object (transitive). In that case, you use "avere" and the verb is "fermare" not "fermarsi".


Here you have some info about grammar. For info related to this topic in particular read the section named "Compound tense auxiliary verbs". http://www.thefullwiki.org/Italian_grammar.

Also search for this PDF document in google. It has a chapter dedicated to verbs which explains when to use "essere" or "avere" as auxiliary verbs.

GENESINI, Grammatica italiana in sintesi, Padova 2010. 1. Pietro Genesini, Grammatica italiana in rapidi schemi, Padova 2017


why wouldn't "tempo" mean "weather" in this instance? i.e. the "the weather has stopped"


has this phrase really sense for you? What does "the weather has stopped" mean in English?


It's a bit of an old-fashioned way of speaking, but it's a legitimate phrase. It generally would be taken to mean that a storm had passed or some other undesirable weather condition had ceased.


In Tuscany, we often use it :)


Very interesting, Thank you! I've never heard anything similar in Italian.


We also say it in Brazilian Portuguese. "O tempo fechou", literally meaning "the weather has closed".


Well, no more sense than 'time' stopping I suppose. Time never stops. It's idiomatic, just like when the weather stops.


My question wasn't about the litteral meaning: in Italy we say "il tempo scorre" (the time goes by) and if it can "move" it can "stop" not litterally, but as a methaphore or as a personal sensation ("come se il tempo si fosse fermato" = as if the time stopped) or in any fantastic novel where time could stop. It (grammatically) can stop as far as it normally pass, run, go by, etc.
In Italian we can't say the same for the weather, we don't use movement verbs to describe the usual actions of the weather (we don't say "il tempo meteorologico è passato, corre, rallenta" etc.), so we can't use the verb "stop" for indicate its unusual or impossible action. (just some vernacular uses "fermarsi" with this meaning, but it isn't proper Italian).


Actually, we use the term "tempo" with the meaning of "weather" only as the subject of "essere" and some particular verbs :
il tempo è bello/brutto, il tempo migliora/peggiora, il tempo cambia, il tempo si calma, il tempo si mantiene, si guasta, resiste, regge, se il tempo permette (when some human action requires a particular weather), il tempo regge, il tempo tende al brutto/bello.
In all the other sentences where "tempo" is the subject, it means "time".


Thank you for taking the time to write this. You've really helped me to understand a little more about Italian grammar!


I thought the same thing, Dwayne. Looking at the conversation between your post and this one, I think that while this might be technically correct, it isn't the usual meaning for this phrase. Instead, this is Italian for "Time stood still." Gotta love idioms!


the slow pronunciation sounds tormented


"Time stood still" is not only correct, it is a much better translation that DL's. DL did not accept it. I reported it.


I disagree. Standing still and stopping are, if only by nuance, different things. The latter implies a sort of movement that took place before, the former does not. I think it feels like the same here because we are used to time "moving" and thus take the stopping for granted when it's standing still.


And yet the 1958 film Il tempo si è fermato is rendered in English as Time Stood Still. :)


I have to agree with Gordon and Ellen on this. Although "Time stopped" is a more literal translation, the phrase "Time stood still" is the common English idiom describing the sensation that time has paused its relentless advance. If Ellen is correct that this phrase is common enough in Italian to be the title of a movie, then the best idiomatic translation into English is "Time stood still."


Accepted 1/7/19


I agree. reported Jan 4th 2015


The time has stopped. Time stopped. Either way, it's a beautiful phrase, and even more so in Italian. Interesting Italian has the same phrase for time as for weather.




Surprisingly, the only jojo reference in this thread.


I don't speak Nintendo, but I recognise that profile picture


What's the use of "si" in this sentence?


I agree that 'time stood still' is a much better English translation.


I'm struggling with when to accurately use si.


Is not "The time is stopped" also correct?


no it isn't since there is a "si" here, that makes it a reflexive sentence and it would mean "the time has stopped"(itself)


"si" can also be a form of passive, not necessarily a reflexive pronoun. this is called an "impersonal pronoun". more info: http://onlineitalianclub.com/free-italian-exercises-and-resources/italian-grammar/italian-grammar-si-imperonale/


if "si" is also passive, can an alternative translation be "time has been stopped"?? thank you :)


no, the impersonal form is not passive!

"si fa qualcosa" = "we do something" or "someone do something" or "people do something". It has a passive form but an active meaning, so you have to translate it with the active meaning. AND the impersonal form doesn't have the subject: grammatically the subject coincide with the object ("si fa qualcosa" is litterally like "Something does itself"), the meaning is, indeed impersonal, without a specific subject. So if "si" is in a phrase with the subject it can't be an impersonal form.

I'm not expert in English.. but if someone says to me "time has been stopped", I'd find it hilarious: by whom? who has stopped the time? anyway in Italian it should be: "il tempo è stato fermato"


Thanks, good reference page


Thanks, Nitram, for that link! Bookmarked!


So why didn't it give "Time has stopped itself" as correct for me?


(American English speaker) Since time does not actually stop, this is a poetic statement. I guess in Italian they say "il tempo si e' fermato," and in English you would say time stopped, or time stood still.


“As happens sometimes, a moment settled and hovered and remained for much more than a moment. And sound stopped and movement stopped for much, much more than a moment.” ― John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men


If it means that, then I don't think there's any need for that "si".


There is, because an object is needed for the verb fermare.


You could restructure that sentence to avoid that clitic and still be grammatically correct.


grammatically correct, but without meaning: fermarsi means stop, fermare means Stop something. There is only one exeption, with public transport: "l'autobus ferma davanti a scuola" means "The bus has a stop in front of the school"


Ah, true. One can remove the "si", but I don't know what semantic change that might cause.


If this sentence was "it has stopped" will it change into avere


When does one use smettere which i believe also means stop?


Thank you for explain


"to cease" should be accepted here as synonymous for "to stop".


Il tempo can mean 'the storm" which in this context would make more sense than 'time'. The storm has stopped.


Doctor Strange is here!


I appreciate all of the time people have invested in explaining this sentence and why proposed alternatives are not acceptable, but the fact remains that this is a poor choice for a pedagogical example. I say this because time does not, literally or in fact, stop. Therefore it is unsurprising that as students trying to learn, we would all be looking for other plausible meanings, such as bad weather ending, or the clock time stopping in a sporting match. And if it were intended to be instructive of an idiom, the only sensible equivalent in English must be "time stood still," which is apparently not accepted by the app. (By the way, is this idiomatic? The discussion wasn't clearly definitive about that.) This sentence should be removed and replaced with something like "il motore si è fermato" or "l'orologio si è fermato."


My gripe is that the speaker definitely says HA fermato


This doesn't make sense. Duo, plz fix this. As a teen, this sentence will never make sense 4 me.

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