table of content chapter 1818.2.2 examples

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chapter 18: sequence of tenses

  18.2.2 examples (the introductory verb is in a tense of the past)
  Less complicated than the theory is the use because the use can be considered as a simple rule which can be automatically applied even if it is perhaps easier to understand the theory and to understand why the adaptation of the tenses is necessary in the context of the reported speech and the sequenze of tenses if the introductory verb is in a past tense (passato prossimo*, passato remoto, imperfetto, trapassato prossimo).

* It is crucial to understand that the passato prossimo is a tense of the PAST in Italian. No, it doesn't work like in Spanish, where the pasado perfecto is a tense of the present

  summary (the introductory verb is in the past)
presente becomes imperfetto
  imperfetto remains imperfetto
  passato remoto becomes passato remoto or passato trapassato
  passato prossimo becomes trapassato prossimo
  trapassato prossimo remains trapassato prossimo
  futuro I becomes condizionale II
  futuro II becomes condizionale II

The schedule of the example is always the same. We have a sentence in the present of the speaker, in this case Maria. Then, we have Andrea, who tells two days later what Mario told her. The anchor around which the actions / events have to be arranged is the moment where Maria told it to Andrea and not the moment where Andrea tells what Maria told her.

Pay attention to the fact that the pronouns and adverbs must be changed as well. Oggi becomes quel giorno, ieri become il giorno prima, domani become il giorno dopo, il mese scorso become il mese prima, la prossima settimana becomes la settimana dopo, etc. In this case the introductory verb is always in passato remoto. Because of the reasons we already mentioned instead of the passato remoto we can use the passato prossimo, it wouldn't make any difference.

presente => imperfetto
Maria: Non vado a scuola oggi.
  Andrea: Maria disse che non andava a scuola quel giorno.
Maria: I don' t go to school today.
Andrea: Maria said, that she didn' t go to school today.
passato prossimo => trapassato prossimo
  Maria: Non sono andata a scuola.
  Andrea disse che non era andata a scuola.
Maria: I didn' t go to school.
Andrea: Maria said, that she had not gone to school.
passato prossimo => trapassato prossimo
  Maria: L' anno scorso non andai a scuola.
  Andrea disse che non era andata / andò a scuola l' anno prima.
Maria: Last year I didn' t go to school.
Andrea: Maria said, that last year she had not gone to school.
presente => imperfetto
  Maria: Non posso pagare, ho dimenticato il portamonete.
  Andrea disse che non poteva pagare perchè aveva dimenticato il portamonete.
Maria: I can' t pay, I lost my money.
Andrea: Maria said, that she was not able to pay because she had lost her money.
futuro => condizionale II
  Maria: Non andrò a scuola.
  Andrea disse che non sarebbe andata a scuola.
Maria: I go to school.
Andrea: Maria said, that she wouldn' t go to school.

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