we watched people swimming in the sea


I'm a beginner (adult learner) so please bear with me! I'm trying to translate the above sentence for a diary entry and I'm getting confused.....

Abbiamo guardato le gente ?nuotare nel mare.

I'm not sure of the form of nuotare I should be using.

Thanks for any help.
  • rocknrollelena

    Senior Member
    Italy, Italian
    Ciao, and welcome to the forum!

    Your sentence "Abbiamo guardato la gente nuotare nel mare" is perfect if, as I understand, you mean that you were watching people who were swimming.

    Basically, if you use the infinitive in the second sentence, the subject of that verb is the word coming just before that, or rather the "complemento oggetto" (I don't know how to say it in English) of the previous sentence.

    If you say "Abbiamo guardato la gente nuotando nel mare" it means that you were swimming, and while doing that you watched the people. If you use the gerund in the second sentence, the subject of that verb becomes the same as the verb in the previous sentence. But I don't think this is the meaning you wanted to give to your sentence, right?

    One more thing: in this sentence I would probably use "Abbiamo visto". The difference is, if you use "guardare" it means you stopped and observed them with inteterest, while if you use "vedere" it means you just saw them. But it really depends on the meaning you want to convey.

    I hope this helps.


    Senior Member
    Specific moment:
    'Abbiamo visto la gente che nuotava in/nel mare'.
    'Abbiamo visto che c'erano delle persone che nuotavano in/nel mare'.

    Telling a story:
    'Guardavamo la gente/le persone nuotare in/nel mare'.
    'Guardavamo le persone che nuotavano in/nel mare'.

    Nel mare is either poetic or more specific.

    eg. nel mare alto
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