It was nearly 13 years before I had another relationship

Halib

New Member
Italian
Hi everyone, this is my first post and I hope this is the right place to leave a message. First of all I’d like to introduce myself, I’m a 43 years old male who’s trying to hey a language certificate. Let’s get straight to the point: I’m reading a text about the so-called “wedding solo”. There’s a passage whose translation seems a lotte bit stringe to me. Here’s the passage and my transaltion:
“In my late 20s, I thought I was dating the man I would marry, but he broke up with me abrouptly. It was nearly 13 years before I had another relationship.”
“Sul finire dei miei 20 anni, pensavo di stare frequentando l’uomo che avrei sposato, ma lui ruppe con me improvvisamente. È stato circa 13 anni prima che avessi un’altra relazione”.

Does this translation sound good? Did I catch the correct meaning of the sentence?
Thanks in advance for any kind of suggestion and answers.
 
  • Halib

    New Member
    Italian
    Direi che in italiano non ha nessun significato...

    "Sarebbero passati 13 anni prima di avere un'altra relazione".
    I agree when you say that translation doesn’t make any sense at all. Could “it was nearly 13 years…” be intended as “it took me 13 years to…”?
    Thx for your help and reply
     

    rrose17

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    Sorry but I’m not getting the difference. We don’t know how old the woman speaking is but she says that in her 20s she had a relationship that she thought was “the one” only for it end badly. It took her another 13 years before she started dating again.
     
    Sorry but I’m not getting the difference. We don’t know how old the woman speaking is but she says that in her 20s she had a relationship that she thought was “the one” only for it end badly. It took her another 13 years before she started dating again.
    The meaning is clear.
    My point is that while in English you can say "it took her 13 years to...", you can't use the same structure in Italian and say "è stato 13 anni per".
    You can say, however, something like "la rottura è stata 13 anni prima dell'inizio della mia successiva relazione" although, personally, I wouldn't say it.
     

    merse0

    Senior Member
    Italy - Italian
    È stato circa 13 anni prima che avessi un’altra relazione.
    Mi sembra sbagliato "è".
    Sono stati circa 13 anni prima che avessi un'altra relazione.
    Oppure:
    Sono passati circa 13 anni prima che avessi un'altra relazione.
    Sono trascorsi circa 13 anni prima che avessi un'altra relazione.
     

    merse0

    Senior Member
    Italy - Italian
    Mi pare che, se riferito a "13 anni", sia più corretto il plurale.

    Vado a "orecchio" e non sono un esperto in grammatica...😀
     

    giovannino

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Servirebbe conoscere il contesto. Se la frase è tratta, ad esempio, da un'autobiografia, io userei il passato remoto: "passarono circa 10 anni prima che avessi un'altra relazione ".
     

    Mary49

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Non capisco il problema che molti sollevano. Quella vicenda è accaduta 13 anni prima che la "protagonista" avesse un'altra relazione. Il passato remoto può andare bene: "Fu 13 anni prima che io avessi...". Francamente non vedo altre interpretazioni...
     

    Pietruzzo

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Mi sembra sbagliato "è".
    Sono stati circa 13 anni prima che avessi un'altra relazione.
    Oppure:
    Sono passati circa 13 anni prima che avessi un'altra relazione.
    Sono trascorsi circa 13 anni prima che avessi un'altra relazione.
    Nella prima frase il soggetto non è anni ma un pronome sottinteso (in inglese era "it was").. Si potrebbe anche dire "Questo succedeva quasi tredici anni prima che io avessi un'altra storia".
     

    Odysseus54

    Mod huc mod illuc
    Italian - Marche
    Sorry but I’m not getting the difference. We don’t know how old the woman speaking is but she says that in her 20s she had a relationship that she thought was “the one” only for it end badly. It took her another 13 years before she started dating again.

    The meaning is the same, the difference is in how you describe the same sequence of events.

    1) In Paul's reading, he is 'counting' from the dumping on. "It was (it took) nearly 13 years before I had another relationship.”
    2) Mary and Pietruzzo are counting from the rebound back 13 years to 'dear Jane..' "It (the dumping) was nearly 13 years before I had another relationship.”

    The question is : what story and timeline is the English text telling?

    At first sight, I read it as Paul does, as "it took nearly 13 years". Now I have doubts.

    Are both readings equally natural and legitimate, or is one of the two more likely?
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Are both readings equally natural and legitimate, or is one of the two more likely?
    I've been avoiding this thread so far because I didn't really understand the debate either (and, skimming it, assumed it was about different ways of saying the same thing in Italian). But in answer to this question, I'd say that only reading #1 is the natural way of understanding It was nearly 13 years before I had another relationship. If she'd meant, for some reason, to say "I got dumped some 13 years prior to meeting another man," I would expect her to say That was nearly 13 years before....

    "It was nearly 13 years before I....." in this context to me means only "It took nearly 13 years until I...."
     
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    Mary49

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Sorry, but I cannot see the difference between "It was nearly 13 years before..." e "That was nearly 13 years before...". Is it only based on it/that? Using "after" instead of "before" would the meaning change? I really would like to know, if there is, the grammar rule which allows to understand.
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    It's also very much context dependent. You'd no doubt recognize the "It was 13 years before [it took 13 years until]...." construction when the context makes it unmistakable:
    I once got food poisoning from some bad ham. It was five years before I could face a ham sandwich without feeling queasy.
    When he was 20, Dave nearly drowned in a boating accident. It was a decade before he went back on the water again.
    I graduated with a degree in architecture in 1992. It was seven years before I could find work in my field.


    When the meaning is obviously (or very probably) "something happened that made someone reluctant to do X for a long time" or just "something took a really long time to happen," then native speakers will assume that "it was [x amount of time] before..." means "it took [x amount of time] until...". To avoid conveying that meaning, you could use "that" rather than "it": "that [i.e., that event] was five years before....".

    If the meaning is clearly not either of the above, then "It was five years before...." simply means "event x happened five years prior to event y": e.g. When did Kate buy her house in Toronto? It was five years before she moved to New York.
     
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    Odysseus54

    Mod huc mod illuc
    Italian - Marche
    Sorry, but I cannot see the difference between "It was nearly 13 years before..." e "That was nearly 13 years before...". Is it only based on it/that? Using "after" instead of "before" would the meaning change? I really would like to know, if there is, the grammar rule which allows to understand.

    It's not a grammar rule. From the MW :

    A : earlier than the time that : call me before you go
    ...
    B : until the time that : miles to go before I sleep



    It's subtle, but it's an important distinction. On it/that, in English we have that Germanic dummy subject 'it' that we don't have a slot for in our romance grammar : "it rains", "it happens all the time", "it becomes impossible.." etc.

    Plus "it was a long time before..." and similarly structured idiomatuc expressions with the meaning of "it took a long time before.." are pretty frequent.
     

    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Sorry, but I cannot see the difference between "It was nearly 13 years before..." e "That was nearly 13 years before...". Is it only based on it/that? Using "after" instead of "before" would the meaning change? I really would like to know, if there is, the grammar rule which allows to understand.
    It's fairly clear if you consider the meanings of "it" and "that". In "it was nearly 13 years before...", "it" refers to the time period; the sentence answers the question "How long was it before you had another relationship?"
    In "that was nearly 13 years before...", "that" refers to the event; the sentence answers the question "when did that happen?"
    However, I realise that for non-natives the choice between "it" and "that" can seem arbitrary in many cases.
     
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    It's fairly clear if you consider the meanings of "it" and "that". In "it was nearly 13 years before...", "it" refers to the time period
    That's why I said the first translation that was suggested "È stato circa 13 anni prima che avessi un’altra relazione" is not accurate.
    "E' stato" refers to the event, while the subject in the original text refers to the time period.
     

    Odysseus54

    Mod huc mod illuc
    Italian - Marche
    It's fairly clear if you consider the meanings of "it" and "that". In "it was nearly 13 years before...", "it" refers to the time period; the sentence answers the question "How long was it before you had another relationship?"
    In "that was nearly 13 years before...", "that" refers to the event; the sentence answers the question "when did that happen?"
    However, I realise that for non-natives the choice between "it" and "that" can seem arbitrary in many cases.

    The more I think about this, the more I become convinced that the grammar of it is that in

    "How long was it before.."

    that 'it' is the same dummy subject that we find in "it rains", "it is fair to say", "it is time to go", where 'it' is not used as a proper pronoun, it does not replace a specific object or event. Whereas 'that' is always used as a demonstrative pronoun or adjective, 'it' can be a pronoun or a dummy, depending on the context.


    Yesterday we had a big storm. It came right after lunchtime. ( the pronoun 'it' replaces 'a big storm')

    vs

    It rained very hard ('it' is a 'dummy subject')
     
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