La collina ha bruciato per tutta la notte.

English Original Sentence

The hillside burned all night.

I had expected è bruciata in this intransitive context. :thinking:


Uh, interesting question.

In principle you are right. The intransitive form should use the “essere” auxiliar verb.
In practice you can find both forms for this kind of sentence, but the version with “ha” is a bit more common.

I do not have a grammatical explanation for that, but I can try to explain why:

I think this is due to the fact that “è bruciata” feels more like “is burned”, that is it burned in the past and now it is in the state of being burned.
“Ha bruciato” instead feels like it “has been burning” for all the night.

Adding “per tutta la notte” should be enough to clarify “è bruciata” is not a “final state” but an ongoing process, but the use of “ha” makes it clearer from the beginning of the sentence.


Very interesting! Somehow it feels that passato remoto is the easier option, if I don’t mind sounding like a Montalbano character. :slightly_smiling_face:


The door bangs open, “Che c’è? @morbrorper, che c’è!” The more Montalbano the better! Would you be Salvo, Augello, Fazio o Catarella?

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I’ve read that the transitive/intransitive rule for determining auxiliary verbs is, like the condom, only 97% effective. I would agree that La collina è bruciata per tutta la notte could sound strange to an Italian ear, as if you were saying the hill is burnt all night every night. The only way to get around that is to break the transitive/intransitive rule and use ha bruciato.


Of course, if I wanted to say that it is burned, I would have said viene bruciata, but I get the point :wink:


I’m afraid that whatever character I wished to be, people would mistake me for Catarella. :slight_smile:


The combination of “viene bruciata” with “per tutta la notte” does not really work in Italian.

The implication of “viene bruciata” is that there is an agent, (an arsonist, a fire) that made it burn. It is common to specify “by what/whom” it happened. Also, the tense indicates that it is an ongoing effect now, and adding “per tutta la notte” would be strange.

You can definitely use the “passato remoto”, especially in writing:

“La collina bruciò per tutta la notte.”


Apologies @morbrorper I realised that my question was half-baked and deleted it!