my friend was supposed to come to my house yesterday

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by Howard Coberly, Dec 4, 2005.

  1. Howard Coberly

    Howard Coberly Senior Member

    Irvine, California
    America/English
    Can someone advise me on how to properly say, for example,

    "my friend was supposed to come to my house yesterday"

    or

    "It was supposed to rain yesterday"

    I am familiar with the consruction, "essere tenuto a" but have been told that it is rarely used in spoken italian and cannot be used in these cases.


    Thanks much for any help
    Howard
     
  2. shamblesuk

    shamblesuk Senior Member

    London
    England, English
    I believe you use the imperfect of dovere, here's my try:

    'La/il mia/o amica/o doveva venire ieri a casa mia'

    Await the views of natives, though.
     
  3. Howard Coberly

    Howard Coberly Senior Member

    Irvine, California
    America/English
    Grazie per la risposta !!!
     
  4. moodywop Banned

    Southern Italy
    Italian - Italy
    Howard

    "Be supposed to" has been covered in previous threads but several learners of Italian have asked me about when it can be translated as "essere tenuto a" so I'd like to clarify this point.

    If you think about it "be supposed to" can have several meanings so there isn't a single Italian equivalent.

    It's the same as "essere tenuto" when used in e.g. school regulations:

    Students are supposed to return books within thirty days
    Gli studenti sono tenuti a(=devono) restituire i libri dopo trenta giorni

    Unfortunately it's a bit more complicated in the negative:

    Non sei tenuto a dirglielo = You don't (necessarily) have to tell him

    You're not supposed to tell him = Non dovresti dirglielo

    On the other hand in your two examples be supposed to has nothing to do with essere tenuto. It has to do with what you/people/economists expect will happen:

    Il mio amico doveva venire a casa mia ieri sera (that was what I expected him to do)

    Ieri doveva piovere (le previsioni erano sbagliate - the weather forecast was wrong)

    Unemployment was supposed to rise = ci si aspettava/si prevedeva che la disoccupazione aumentasse

    I hope that helps.

    Carlo
     
  5. Howard Coberly

    Howard Coberly Senior Member

    Irvine, California
    America/English




    Molto grazie per il tuo aiuto !! `e piu chiaro ora.
    Ciao
     
  6. ElaineG

    ElaineG Senior Member

    Brooklyn NY
    USA/English
    Awesome explanation. It wasn't my question, but I learned a lot from the response.
     
  7. moodywop Banned

    Southern Italy
    Italian - Italy
    Thanks a lot, Elaine. I just wish I got the same response from my teenage pupils at the school where I teach near Naples. Maybe I should switch to teaching adults:)
     

Share This Page