Help with Italian hypothetical clauses
Thread poster: 4pogibis
Mar 12, 2013

I am having trouble with hypothetical clauses.

Some websites say that there are three types:

1- se + imperfect subjunctive + present conditional
2- se + past perfect subjunctive + present conditional
3- se + past perfect subjunctive + perfect conditional

However, one website translates the phrase 'If I had known it, I would have helped him' as 'se l'AVESSI saputo, l'avrei aiutato'

I would have translated it as ' se l'ABBIA saputo, l'avrei aiutato'

Is that right too? Or is the rule in fact:

3- se + PLUPERFECT SUBJUNCTIVE + perfect conditional

?

I hope that this is clear! I would really appreciate some helpicon_smile.gif


 

Chéli Rioboo
France
Local time: 13:32
Member (2007)
Spanish to French
+ ...
AVESSI SAPUTO Mar 13, 2013

"se ABBIA saputo" doesn't exist.

 

Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:32
Italian to English
Any grammar book .... Mar 13, 2013

This forum is really intended for discussions between practising professional translators, not basic grammar for students, but anyway ....

I remember several of my Italian teachers hammering home the fact that "se" ALWAYS takes the imperfect (or pluperfect) subjunctive.

I've since discovered that there are exceptions (and many native speaking Italians do their best to disprove the rule), but that needn't bother a student.

As one of my "friends" posted on facebook this morning:

Prima c’era chi usava il condizionale per evitare il congiuntivo,
ora c’è chi usa la congiuntivite per evitare la condizionale.

[Edited at 2013-03-13 13:41 GMT]


 

missdutch  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 13:32
Member (2010)
English to Italian
+ ...
And rightly so Mar 13, 2013

Russell Jones wrote:

I remember several of my Italian teachers hammering home the fact that "se" ALWAYS takes the imperfect (or pluperfect) subjunctive.



 

Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:32
Italian to English
+ ...
use of subjunctive Mar 13, 2013

Basically, the auxiliary just takes on the subjunctive equivalent:

I had known avevo saputo

If I had known se l’avessi saputo

How did you come to the decision that it was ‘abbia’?

Russell is quite right in saying that not all ‘se’ clauses take the subjunctive; if the phrase refers to an almost certain event, then it’s perfectly acceptable to use another construction.

If it rains tomorrow, I won’t go
(i.e. if it will rain tomorrow)
Se domani pioverà, non ci andrò
Or even
Se domani piove ...............

Point of information, the subjunctive is a mood, not a tense.

I too am 'old school' - sequence of tenses and all that.


 

Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
Exactly... Mar 13, 2013

Russell Jones wrote:
"se" ALWAYS takes the imperfect (or pluperfect) subjunctive.


This is the rule:) in hypothetical clauses.

[Edited at 2013-03-13 14:40 GMT]


 

marisa pacilio
Austria
Local time: 13:32
German to Italian
+ ...
If it rains tomorrow, I won’t go Mar 14, 2013

Just to add my two cents:
The above mentioned sentence could also be translated in the following way:

- se domani dovesse piovere, non ci andrei

With which the general rule finds applicationicon_smile.gif

Italian is a very complicated language


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:32
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Se Mar 14, 2013

Se mia nonna avesse le ruote, sarebbe una cariola.

Ma

Se mia nonna avesse AVUTO le ruote, cosa sarebbe stata?


 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:32
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Non sarebbe stata una carriola... Mar 14, 2013

perché le carriole hanno una ruota sola...icon_smile.gif

 

Françoise Vogel  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:32
English to French
+ ...
mia nonna in carriola? Mar 14, 2013

but we have it in French:
Si ma grand-mère avait des roues, etc.

although our internet global world repeats endlessly "ce serait un autobus", I'm sure it was nearer to a "chariot". I can't remember the exact wording.


 

Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:32
Italian to English
On topic please Mar 14, 2013

Can we stay with the topic please folks?
Thanks


 


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Help with Italian hypothetical clauses

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