past gerund vs past participle

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by shgrdii, May 6, 2006.

  1. shgrdii Member

    The chapter my class is studying right now touches upon both the use of the past participle in dependent clauses and the past gerundive. The way my book shows it, its like they are exactly the same. So how do you know which one to use?? For example, my book has this:

    For the past participle, it says you can use it in this sentence

    Partiti in gran fretta, hanno dimenticato di avvertire gli altri = Having left in a great hurry, they forgot to warn the others

    For the past gerundive, it says you can use it in this sentence

    Essendo partiti in fretta, hanno dimenticato i pacchi = Having left in a hurry, they forget their packages

    I am confused because I don't know how you determine which one to use. On my final take home test, one of the sentences I have to translate is:

    Having had breakfast, she went out.

    Now, how do I know whether or not to use the past gerundive or the past participle? Or does it even matter?? The way I translated it, which I think is wrong is

    Avuta la colazione, e uscito (don't know how to make accent marks on the keyboard). Is this wrong, or right? I'm totally confused. Could I also translate it like this: Avendo avuto la colazione, e uscito?
  2. moodywop Banned

    Southern Italy
    Italian - Italy
    It should be fatta colazione, è uscito.

    There may be more to it but I think the main difference is that the past gerundive has a causal meaning, whereas using the past participle on its own just indicates a non-causal succession of events, i.e. avendo speso tutti i soldi = because he had spent all the money he had, whereas finiti i compiti = after he had finished his homework.

    Avendo perso le elezioni, Berlusconi è di pessimo umore

    Trovato l'albergo, siamo andati subito in camera a farci una doccia

    I have to give it some more thought, though. The past participle construction can't always be used. I'll have to find out why:)
  3. TimeHP

    TimeHP Senior Member

    Italian - Italy
    C'è differenza di significato tra i due tempi.

    1. Fatta colazione, sono uscita = dopo aver fatto colazione, sono uscita.

    2. Avendo (già) fatto colazione, sono uscita = poiché avevo fatto
    colazione, sono uscita (ho potuto uscire)


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