Their aim (of the reforms) was to enhance national economic development

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by Murphy, Feb 14, 2007.

  1. Murphy

    Murphy Senior Member

    Sicily, Italy
    English, UK
    Ok, yet another question about passato remoto v imperfetto (sorry!)

    In the following sentence, should it be "fu" or "era"? We are talking about education reforms passed in China in 1985.

    "Their aim (of the reforms) was to enhance national economic development and produce as many skilled workers as possible".

    My version:

    "Il loro scopo fu di incrementare lo sviluppo economico nazionale e di produrre il più gran numero possibile di lavoratori qualificati."

    Now I have a doubt. Should I say "lo scopo era" instead of "fu"? After all, the aim of the reforms remained constant. Or is it "fu" because the reforms were passed during one period in the past? Help!!!:eek:
  2. dylanG3893

    dylanG3893 Senior Member

    United States
    I'm not a native, but I definately vote 'era'! :thumbsup:
  3. stella_maris_74

    stella_maris_74 Mod About Chocolate

    Italian - Italy
    Yes, it is "era" :)


  4. Murphy

    Murphy Senior Member

    Sicily, Italy
    English, UK
    Thank you both.:D
  5. PinkLady1989 New Member

    English - England
    Hi All,

    I am struggling a little with grammar. At the moment I am learning the Passato Remoto and Imperfetto tenses. I am writing a fairy tale, and I can not decide which tense to use for the verb 'to live', for example "Hannah lived with her father".

    Would it be
    Passato remoto: "Hannah abitò con il suo padre"
    or Imperfetto: "Hannah abitava con il suo padre"???

    Please help! Thank you!!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 27, 2009
  6. federicoft Senior Member

    Hi PL,

    the imperfetto is used when representing an action happening regularly or a situation which is in progress in the past (as opposed to the passato remoto, which is used for a single event). So it's definitely "abitava".
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2009
  7. Golem-62

    Golem-62 Member

    Italy - (TN)
    I'm not a native neither, but I often find this mistake:

    definately instead of definitely

    Just to help you, US native, think that "Imperfetto" form is a kind of "-ing" form for the past, meaning that an action was continuative in a certain time. Passato Remoto means that the action was completed, finished or referred to a specific time.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 27, 2009
  8. Mattia_ Member

    Hi everyone,

    please apologize me, I know that this is (just) a bit out of topic, but at least concerns PASSATO REMOTO and a cultural aspect of Italy: I hope you all can enjoy it! :)

    I'd like to add a piece of (tasty) information about the Italian language, if I may, above all concerning the differences between:


    Curiously enough the people who live in the north of Italy are (well indeed) used to making a HUGE grammar mistake (like me! :D.. by the way I bet that 80% of people from the North even do not anything about this common mistake!):

    We use the PASSATO PROSSIMO when instead we should use the PASSATO PROSSIMO, here an example just to clarify what I mean:

    We say:

    "La settimana scorsa sono andato al cinema e ho incontrato Paola." (which is wrong, but accepted simply because we ALL ,in the north, say and write it in this way).

    It should be:

    "La settimana andai al cinema ed incontrai Paola". (In the south of Italy most of people use the passato remoto, which is grammatically correct.)

    People from the south are indeed correct when it comes to using the right TEMPO VERBALE, exactly the same as it happens for the Spanish. In Spain and all over the world where Spanish is spoken (bear in mind that people who speak Spanish are more than 400.000.000, quite impressive) the grammar rules are much more respected: kind of untouchable stuff, almost sacred! :)

    Obviously in News and Media you'll always find the northern (wrong) use, simply because the North is much richer and more politically powerful than the South (to sum up brutally).

    Last edited: Jan 27, 2009
  9. federicoft Senior Member

    Sorry Mattia, may I ask you what's wrong with
    "La settimana scorsa sono andato al cinema e ho incontrato Paola"?
    It is the most impeccable Italian I can think of. If anything, I'd say the overuse of passato remoto to refer to recent events (thus, "andai al cinema"), which is indeed a feature of Southern italian dialects, is wrong.
  10. Mattia_ Member

    Ciao Federicoft!

    Thanks for your question and by the way sorry for being a bit in late, I was busy. :)

    First of all according to what I have learnt at the University I can tell you pretty surely that what I wrote in my previous post is indeed correct. I remember my professor of Spanish whose Italian was astonishing, to say the least, repeating us exactly what I wrote.

    My cultivated and highly-professional professor could be wrong, but honestly I don't thing so.

    In the North we make this mistake but it is so entirely accepted that even the great majority of the people do not anything about this!

    Take care!
  11. federicoft Senior Member

    Ciao Mattia,

    well, people do not know anything about it mainly because "la settimana scorsa sono andato al cinema" not only is perfectly correct, but it's the only correct way of saying it in Italian. :)

    The passato prossimo is the preferred perfective tense in Italian. The preterite (passato remoto) is used to refer to remote events (both temporally or psychologically), and this of course is not the case with "la settimana scorsa".

    In Spanish you would indeed use the preterite here, but Spanish is a different language with different rules. In this respect, Italian grammar is much more similar to the French one.

    As regards the North vs. South thing, Northern speakers tend to use the PP in any perfective situation, while Southern speaker tend to use the PR even for recent events. Keep away from both extremes in Standard Italian. ;)

  12. beauxyeux Senior Member

    italian italy
    Caro Federico permettimi di dissentire rispetto al fatto che l'uso del passato remoto al sud sia più scorretto dell'uso del passato prossimo al nord.
    La mia opinione è molto più sfumata ed è legata all'evoluzione naturale di tutte le lingue verso una maggiore facilità d'uso e di pronuncia. E' indubbio che il passato prossimo sia una variante del passato molto più facile da ricordare e da coniugare, soprattutto tenuto conto delle difficoltà oggettive del nostro passato remoto.
    Questo è quello che pensa Sorianni, grande teorico della Lingua Italiana:

    (...) nel Settentrione e in parte dell’Italia centrale i parlanti anche cólti tendono a non adoperare mai il passato remoto (con un processo già sostanzialmente compiutosi in francese); mentre nelle regioni meridionali ‘il passato remoto è molto più tenace, anche se la tendenza verso un’espansione del passato prossimo ai danni del passato remoto è ugualmente presente’ (Sorella 1984:8)." Concludendo, come scriveva il mio professore nella sua mirabile grammatica ‘Gente e parole’ del 1980, "Si può quindi dire che la differenza non sta solo in un tempo ‘effettivo’ (più vicino/più lontano), ma anche e soprattutto in un tempo ‘affettivo’, cioè legato ai nostri sentimenti, determinato dal nostro modo di vedere e sentire".

    Come vedi non ci sono giudizi di correttezza o scorrettezza, ma semplicemente una presa d'atto dei cambiamenti in essere.
    Secondo la mia personalissima opinione, comunque, nel tempo perderemo sempre più la capacità di usare e conoscere il nostro passato remoto.
  13. myblueblog New Member

    Hello to all

    I am not Italian but I lived and worked 6 years in Tuscany (1986-1992).

    Never heard ever "andai" al cinema... Always heard sono andato...

    Just one person used to use it, actually, but he was Argentinian, Spanish mother tongue, so I guess he was translating from his own language.
  14. Golem-62

    Golem-62 Member

    Italy - (TN)
    MI sembra che siamo andando un po' "off-topic": il tema era Passato remoto / imperfetto, mentre ora è diventato Passato Remoto vs. Passato Prossimo.....
  15. federicoft Senior Member

    Brevissimamente perché sarei leggermente OT.
    Ho scritto che sono entrambi usi regionali, non che uno è più o meno corretto dell'altro. In particolare per riferirsi ad eventi attuali o psicologicamente vicini il tempo privilegiato in italiano standard è il passato prossimo.
    Qui l'opinione della Crusca.
  16. Mattia_ Member

    Sorry but I strongly disagree with your assertion. You say:

    How can be possibly correct if "la settimana scorsa sono andato al cinema" is well indeed an event which has already taken place and has nothing to do with the present (from a "temporal" point of view). Even the article that you quoted explains that:

    "Usiamo il passato remoto per manifestare il distacco, e quindi la lontananza, di tali avvenimenti dal momento in cui ne parliamo. Dobbiamo perciò intendere remoto nel suo significato etimologico di “separato”, “staccato”, “rimosso”; e prossimo come indicante vicinanza o attualità psicologica."

    I thank you for sharing this piece of knowledge but unfortunately that writing (the entire piece not just this one above) does not solve one central question. Hold on please:

    The problem here is this adverb: TEMPORALLY. In Italian above all in the North we have lost this "rule", whereas for some reasons (which I simply do not know, sorry! :)) you can find this "rule" in the South the same as it happens in Spanish (that's the reason why I quoted Spanish). For example if I say "Yesterday or The last week" we should use the PASSATO REMOTO because "that" time is up (precisely as it happens in English by the way).

    Spanish (as I wrote) is painfully respectful when it comes to "rules". On the other hand Italian is not, another good example is the SUBJUNCTIVE which is unfortunately and gradually becoming extinct in our lovely language.

    Sorry but to some extent this sound to me even a bit "offensive", I do not really want to get above myself (I'm still an ignorant I'll be for ever!) but I've got a degree about foreign languages and I've spent some years abroad studying and working, and I do know that Spanish is "a different language with different rules", and at the end of the day your explanation looks a bit poor to me.

    Last but not least I do not want to look picky but to me you look a bit confused, take a look at what you wrote:

    After that you said:

    I can't either make head or tail of your (a bit incoherent) evaluation, you probably skimmed through my writing too quickly or whatever, ANYWAY, thank you for your attention I wish you all the best!

    Probably the moderator will lock the thread now (Apologize me for being wordy, please)! :thumbsup:

    Last edited: Jan 28, 2009
  17. Angel.Aura

    Angel.Aura del Mod, solo L'aura

    Roma, Italia
    Nota di moderazione:

    Last edited: Jan 29, 2009
  18. aominedinburgh New Member

    English - Ireland

    Ho letto questo 'thread' cercando la risposta ad una mia domanda sul uso relativo del passato prossimo e l'imperfetto in questa frase scritta da un'amica italiana:

    'due anni fa, nel paradiso delle biciclette, mio cognato veniva investito da un camion ...'

    C'e un motivo per il quale lei abbia adoperato l'imperfetto al posto del passato prossimo che a me sembrerebbe piu' corretto?
  19. federicoft Senior Member

    È un uso particolare dell'imperfetto, detto imperfetto narrativo. Lo puoi incontrare nella descrizione di eventi passati al posto delle forme perfettive (il passato prossimo e quello remoto), quasi esclusivamente nella lingua scritta.
    L'effetto stilistico è diverso da quello che si avrebbe con l'uso delle forme perfettive, molto più "continuato" nel tempo anziché fisso in un dato momento, ad enfatizzare lo scorrere del tempo nel passato.
  20. aominedinburgh New Member

    English - Ireland
    Grazie della risposta, Federicoft.
    Pero' a me sembra ancora strana la scelta dell'imperfetto in questo caso a descrivere un evento singolo come un incidente stradale. Non si tratta qui di
    un uso 'ad enfatizzare lo scorrere del tempo nel passato.'
  21. Nypsa New Member

    Ho una domanda.
    Finiti gli occhi si accorse che questi si muovevano e lo guardavano sempre.
    Perchè si usa il imperfetto in questo caso?
  22. guitarjpm New Member

  23. guitarjpm New Member

    Ciao F .. Passato prossimo or imperfectto ?? .. Any easy way to distinguish usage ? .. For example : "it was clean " ... Ci era pulito or è stato pulito ?? If ( had been ) was able to be used , is that a clue to use passato prossimo ?? Please help

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