"Abbiamo cominciato alle sei."

Translation:We started at six.

December 31, 2012

This discussion is locked.


When do you use 'cominciato' as opposed to 'iniziato'?


i also want to know this.


Why is commenced not accepted for cominciato?


"Commenced" worked for me. Sept. 2, 2021.


I'm sure I've seen cominciare conjugated with essere as well as avere. Or am I imagining things. Can essere be used (I've definitely seen ricominciare conjugated with essere).


Agh, it doesn't accept "6:00" even though it accepts numerals in other sentences. Oh well, lesson learned!


It accepts "we started at 6" (September 2015)


"alle sei" can also be translated to "6 o'clock".


"at 6 o'clock" I think.


Correct, but I was emphasizing the "o'clock."


There seems to be some inconsistency regarding the use of have/has in the translation e.g. Ha prodotto alcol = he produced alcohol was judged to be incorrect because I had missed out 'has'., but in this sentence there is no 'have or has'. and yet is obviously deemed to be correct. Is there a definitive answer to this.


Right, there's no ambiguity about this. The tense being used is the present perfect, or passato prossimo, which translates as "I have done", "He has worked", "You had been", etc. Saying "I did", "He cooked", are a different tense, . All of these tenses are conjugated by the present indicative of the auxilliary (avere or essere) + past participle (participio passato) of the intended verb. The choice over essere and avere is verb specific, but generally follows the rule that feelings, moods, and emotions, intransitive verbs use essere, while transitive verbs take avere. Also, when essere is used, there is also past participle agreement in gender and number of the subject. Unfortunately, there is no one simple past tense in Italian, as there is in English. The passato remoto and imperfetto are used to describe events that have been completed in the past (He ate...but is now finished.), or were on-going (He used to dance.), respectively.


That's right, so if we're translating these sentences to english we should really use the right tense, not just translate it literally. In this case it would have to be past simple; "we started at six", without the "have" part.. cause that sentence wouldn't be correct in english since the sentence clearly states the exact time when we started. In italian, german and french it is common to use present perfect as past simple.


Thank you for the clarification about simple past and present perfect use.


Good summation, leonardicus! Grazie!


I am confused about the use of essere and avere with cominciare.

I know that both can be used with cominciare in the perfect tense, but i thought it would be essere in this case. Is "alle sei" a direct object?!? The last sentence I had was "e cominciato tre settimana fa" ( I can't put an accent on the "e", sorry!)


You are correct, cominciare is one of the rare verbs that can be used intransitively (in which essere is used for compound tenses) and transitively (in which avere is used). In the example you give, "alle sei" is the direct object. The intransitive example, though a little ambiguous, does not need a direct object, and so uses essere instead of avere.


I would have described "alle sei" as an adverbial phrase, but perhaps my memory of high school grammar and diagramming is faulty. However, I wonder if the use of AVERE with "cominciato" here is because we have a personal subject, WE, that is performing the action of "starting, beginning" an event. In the previous example, "È cominciato tre settimana fa", the subject is an impersonal "IT", and the action of being started or begun was done by others, so ESSERE is the auxiliary verb. If this is not correct reasoning, then please let me know. Grazie!


"Alle sei" is actually a prepositional phrase, but you're right, it's certainly not a direct object.


You can put the accent on if you use the character map.


Commenced and started mean the same thing, why was this incorrect


Two questions:

1) What is the difference between 'cominciare' and 'iniziare', i.e. why is the former used here and not the latter?

2) Is it correct to assume that this can ONLY mean six in the morning, and cannot mean six pm?


1) Cominciare and iniziare are very similar. Just as in English we have start, begin, commence, initiate etc. We studied them in my regular class a while ago but my recollection is that it's very idiomatic which to use. It's a bit like English - a party might "start/inizia" at 7pm, but an exam might "commence/commincia" at 9am, a little more formal. There are many situations where either is ok.

2) I think alle sei can mean 6pm if it's clear from other context that you are talking about the evening. "Piero, dove inizia la tua festa domani?" "Alle sei." Obviously it's the evening. Otherwise you can say "Alle sei di sera". You can always add "di mattina, di pomeriggio, di sera, di notte" to clarify time things.

Hope that helps ! Ciao


could somebody please explain why this sentence uses avere/ abbiamo. i thought that started/ cominciato would be intransitive as it is followed by the preposition "at" but maybe this isn't the case?


Ciao. Cominicare can be transitive or intransitive. Yes the use here is intransitive, there is no object to be "started". But I think essere would only be used for something like "La festa e gia cominciato" - "the party is already begun"whereas here we would use "La festa ha cominciato alle sei". Forgive me, I'm hazy on this, I learned it several years ago and now I just go by instinct and what "sounds right". Here are some references that may be of interest. Ciao e buona fortuna.





Hi you are right except that the sentence should be: "La festa è già cominciata" (not "cominciato") as "la festa" is feminine and we use "essere" as auxiliary verb. have a great day!


Thanks Stefan, my bad !


You are welcome. And thanks for your explanations, DL isn’t sometimes too clear.


this is very helpful. grazie!


"We started at six am" was rejected. I understand that Italy is on a 24 hour clock. A translation from Italian in North America would require clarification as to am or pm.


There's no need to invent context.

Between friends and in other informal situations, Italians may use the numbers from 1 to 12 to indicate time, and the context of the conversation will usually be sufficient. After all, La Scala doesn't have performances at eight in the morning!


DL does not accept we commenced at six agh!!


Since my earlier post we have studied this verb in class. To "start" is either cominciare or iniziare, and you can mostly use either. Also a variant incominciare. To finish is just usually finire. (There are others .. terminare, concludere). The transaltion of cominciare to "start, begin, commence" is a matter of style and usage. A children's party might "start" at 6 but a board meeting might "commence", ie. a bit more weighty. Anyway the overlap is 99% and DL should accept either. Hope that's interesting! Ciao. 13nov15


"At 6 am" was not allowed. And yet that is what alle sei means - 6 pm would be alle diciotto.


Whilst commenced and started are synonyms started would be more common usage . Commence is more formal and can be regarded as old fashioned .


"at six" is not a direct object, so why is avere used in this sentence? This is like explaining to a child that eggs only come from chickens, then asking them why they thought an ostrich egg was from a chicken.


Why do Italians say "alle sei". Is it feminine plural or because of something else


alle refers to le ore (the hours- which are implied here)
alle ore (a + le=alle)
and le ore is a feminine, plural


Thank you so much. That was really helpful


And of course when we have a singular hour (la ora), then we say:
- Abbiamo cominciato alla una (ora)
- We started at one (hour)


Why is "had started" not accepted?


cominciare requires avere as the auxiliary so “siamo” wouldn’t work in this case.

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