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Present perfect = past tense in Italian?

I just started learning Italian with audio, and I am surprised to hear things like " ha piovuto ieri" rather than a simple past tense.

That is from my frame of reference, English, you would not say "it has rained yesterday' rather than 'it rained".

There are many example in the Pimsleur program, like "ho comprato' for "I bought" - are they just doing this in the program because it is easier?

If not, the distinction between 'present perfect' and 'past' in English does not work the same in Italian. I am sorry I don't know the names of these tenses, I have not looked at any grammar (yet) - I'm just learning by audio.

Grazie mille!

For learning: Italian
Base language: English
Category: Language

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    Best Answer - Chosen by Voting
    In italiano, le frasi con un present perfect (o nella sua forma continuous) sono spesso frasi al presente indicativo:
    Vivo a Catania da 10 anni.I have lived in Catania for 10 years.Studio l'inglese da molto tempo.I have been studying English for a long time.
    Il passato prossimo italiano non corrisponde al present perfect inglese.
    Vi sono però alcuni casi in cui i due usi corrispondono:
    Lei ha avuto troppi guai nella sua vita.She has had too much trouble in her life.
    Ma molto spesso, non corrispondono:
    Sai che ho visitato Londra sabato scorso? Do you know I visited London last Saturday?
    Questo è dovuto al sempre più comune uso, nell'italiano moderno parlato e scritto, del passato prossimo al posto del passato remoto per esprimere azioni concluse nel tempo.
    L'ausiliare italiano essere (usato per i verbi di stato e di moto) non si rende nel Present Perfect inglese con il verbo to be più il past participle, ma si usa sempre il verbo to have come ausiliare, seguito dal past participle.
    Sono arrivato! →si traduce con→ I have arrived È stata in ospedale →si traduce con→ She has been to the hospital
    E mai con: I am arrived o She is been to the hospital

     

    I understand your confusion because a word-for-word translation makes the Italian phrase look exactly like present perfect. However, the grammar used is "passato prossimo", which equates to English past simple. A translation of a present perfect sentence into Italian will normally use "presente indicativo".

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