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Italian Language/Trapassato o imperfetto

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Question
Dear Maria,
You have already sent me information about the difference between Trapassato and imperfetto and I have created two sentences which I still am not able to sort out terms of which tense to use.
1).  Quando avevo 16 anni io e  I miei amici eravamo andare al centro a ballare.
     When I was 16 years old my friends and I went downtown to dance.
In this sentence,  I am not sure if the intent  should be, "we used to go" or "we went"

2). Quando avevo 16 anni avevo un'amica si chiama Suzanne e eravamo andati in autobus al cinema quasi ogni
       sera in centro.
    When I was 16 I had a friend named Susan and we went on the bus to the movie almost every Friday night         
        downtown.
Always, thank you for your help!
Sincerely,
Christine

Answer
Dear  Christine,

if you want to say in Italian “ When I was 16 years old my friends and I went downtown to dance”, you should translate it as “Quando avevo 16 anni, io e  i miei amici andavamo  in centro a ballare” with the imperfetto “andavamo” because it indicates a repeated action in the past  just to say that when you was 16 years old, your  friends and you  used to go downtown to dance.

If on the contrary you  used the Trapassato Prossimo “eravamo andati” and said “Quando avevo 16 anni, io e  i miei amici eravamo andati  in centro a ballare”, it would be not so correct unless you add the adverb “una volta” and then say :“Quando avevo 16 anni, una volta io e  i miei amici  eravamo andati  in centro a ballare” just to point out that the Trapassato Prossimo “eravamo andati” indicates an action that occurred once  in the past and has  been completed.

As for the translation of “When I was 16 I had a friend named Susan and we went on the bus to the movie almost every Friday night downtown”, here it is:”Quando avevo 16 anni, avevo un'amica di nome Susanna con cui andavo al cinema  in centro con l’autobus quasi ogni venerdì  sera” where you must use the imperfetto because it indicates  a repeated action in the past.

Hope this is helpful to you.

Have a nice afternoon,

Maria

Italian Language

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Maria

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Italian is my mother tongue and I'll be glad to answer any questions concerning Italian Language.

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Over 25 years teaching experience.

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I received my Ph.D.in Classics (summa cum laude) from Genova University (Italy).

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