"Abbiamo cominciato alle sei."
Translation:We started at six.
43 CommentsThis discussion is locked.
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.
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!
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
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.
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!
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