a patto che ritornino dopo cinque anni

Nestorua

New Member
Ukrainian
Ciao.
How could I translate the sentence:
"ma a patto che ritornino dopo cinque anni"
Is this the same as:
"ma a patto se ritornano dopo cinque anni"
if not - what the difference?
 
  • Starless74

    Senior Member
    Italiano
    Is this the same as:
    1. "ma a patto che ritornino dopo cinque anni" :tick:
    2. "ma a patto se ritornano dopo cinque anni":cross:
    if not - what the difference?
    Sentence no.2 simply doesn't exist in Italian;

    "a patto che..." ("providing that..." / "on condition that...") is a locution serving as conjunction.
    it's always followed by subjunctive case (modo congiuntivo), in your example: :tick:ritornino, not :cross:ritornano.

    As for the full translation, I'll wait for the full original sentence, of course.
     
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    Nestorua

    New Member
    Ukrainian
    1. My translation was
    "che ritornino=se ritornano=if they return".
    But I doubt that I am right.
    2. The full original sentence is:
    L'uomo fa loro presente che si tratta di una strana richiesta, ma dietro loro forte insistenza accetta,
    ma a patto che ritornino dopo cinque anni
    .

    Grazie.
     

    Nestorua

    New Member
    Ukrainian
    "... he agreed on condition that they return / would return after five years"
    "... he agreed, provided that they would return after five years"
    Grazie per la risposta.

    So:
    that they return = che ritornAno
    that they WOULD return = che ritornIno
    and in that sentence "L'uomo...ma a patto che ritornino..."
    the author could as well write (with exactly the same meaning)
    "L'uomo...ma a patto che ritornano..."

    Grazie.

    Sentence no.2 simply doesn't exist in Italian;

    "a patto che..." ("providing that..." / "on condition that...") is a locution serving as conjunction.
    it's always followed by subjunctive case (modo congiuntivo), in your example: :tick:ritornino, not :cross:ritornano.

    As for the full translation, I'll wait for the full original sentence, of course.
    Thank you.
    So it's "a patto che..." that causes "che ritornIno" and not "che ritornAno" and means "they would return" and not just "they return" ?
    Now I think I understood
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    As for the english verb case to choose I'll pass on the torch to native speakers ;)
    I think the English here has to do with the tense of the sentence:

    He agrees, on condition that they return after five years. (present)
    He agreed, on condition that they would return after five years. (past)

    It strikes me that you probably could use "they return" in the second, past tense sentence (you would be imagining the speaker, in the past, speaking in the present tense), but it sounds better the way I've put it above.
     
    If you use the past tense at the beginning, "He agreed on condition that they returned after five years" would be more natural, I think, than "He agreed, on condition that they would return after five years."
    It's the sort of thing we natives could argue about. :)
     

    QuasiTriestino

    Senior Member
    American English
    If the subject was a he or she... you could argue (albeit from maybe an old-fashioned viewpoint) that the following is most correct: "he agrees, on condition s/he return after 5 years" - in other words, subjunctive like in Italian. :p But I think in everyday lingo we just go with the present "returns".

    In terms of "they" (they return).... the present and subjunctive are one and the same, so it doesn't register as an issue.

    What the correct subjunctive form in the past would be..... I haven't a clue, but I like JG's suggestion.
     
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    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    If you use the past tense at the beginning, "He agreed on condition that they returned after five years" would be more natural, I think, than "He agreed, on condition that they would return after five years."
    It's the sort of thing we natives could argue about. :)
    Mmm, yes, we could argue. :) "He agreed on condition that they returned after five years" sounds far less natural to me than "they would return." What say you to "He agreed on condition that they were to return after five years"?

    As as far as the subjunctive goes, my (admittedly old-fashioned and pedantic) ear thinks it's absolutely required after "on condition that." But I do not doubt that I'm in the minority.....;)
     
    Just to say that "what say you to" is not English idiom in itself, even before you get to the suggestion.
    "He agreed on condition that they returned after five years." :tick:
    "He agreed, on condition that they would return after five years." No. Not natural in my opinion.
    "He agreed on condition that they were to return after five years". For me, that's even worse. Even less naturaL.
    But I did say it was the sort of thing we natives could argue about.
     

    Nestorua

    New Member
    Ukrainian
    Just to say that "what say you to" is not English idiom in itself, even before you get to the suggestion.
    "He agreed on condition that they returned after five years." :tick:
    "He agreed, on condition that they would return after five years." No. Not natural in my opinion.
    "He agreed on condition that they were to return after five years". For me, that's even worse. Even less naturaL.
    But I did say it was the sort of thing we natives could argue about.
    When you say of natives you mean British or English native speakers all over the world?
    What if that sentence to build in present tense:
    "He agrees, on condition that they will return after five years."
    This will is excessive/needless/wrong and must be omitted?
     
    Ciao, Nestorua.
    I meant native speakers of English.
    I think the "will" in your sentence ""He agrees, on condition that they will return after five years" is fine. If you do a search on "on condition that they will", you will find many examples where the present tense is used in the first part of the sentence.
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    I'm not sure the meaning is clear, i.e. that they have to wait five years to have their request fulfilled.
    Was that the meaning of the original? I suppose it could be, but I was imagining a situation where, say, "they" asked the man for money so they could sail around the world, and he eventually gave it to them, but on the condition that they had to come back after 5 years, to tell him what they saw, or something like that. Is there something I'm missing in the grammar of the original that precludes their request being granted now, but on a condition that they have to do something 5 years in the future?
    L'uomo fa loro presente che si tratta di una strana richiesta, ma dietro loro forte insistenza accetta,
    ma a patto che ritornino dopo cinque anni.


    Just to say that "what say you to" is not English idiom in itself, even before you get to the suggestion.
    What say you
    I'm with the guy in the above thread who uses "what say you" for humorous effect. :) But no, I don't want to encourage the Italians learning English here to go around using it in regular conversation.
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    What's missing is the context. You can find it here. To cut a long story short a couple want to get married but they are told that it's not possible now, they have to come back again in five years.
    Okay, that's actually a very funny joke. :D The most natural way to say it in English, then, is simply "He agreed, but said they'd have to come back in five years." The context makes it clear that they have to wait five years to have their request fulfilled. I think that any construction with "on the condition that" makes it sound more that the request is granted on the spot, but the recipients have to hold up their end of the bargain five years later.
     
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