Sembra che nessuno conosceva la verità.

It seems that no one knew the truth.Shouldn’t this verb be in the past subjunctive (conoscesse)? Can it be either? I threw a bunch of different sentences into Google translate that started out with, “It seems that…”, and it chose past subjunctive in some cases and imperfect in others. Is it a random flaw in the algorithm or is there a grammar rule that I don’t know about that applies here?


Ciao @hab638 Our club madrelingua tells us that sembra che takes the subj but perhaps in this case it can use both since it seems a given that nobody knew the truth.

Fraid I use the subj as often as possible cos I like it and it’s good practice.

Auguri a te… FL


No, you are right. The proper sentence would be “Sembra che nessuno conoscesse la verità.”

It is a common error, even for native speakers, though.

Where the imperfect could be allowed, is if instead of “Sembra che” there was something like “E’ chiaro che”. In this case, “E’ chiaro che nessuno conosceva la verità” is acceptable, because it is implied the situation is true, there is no doubt about it.

It would still be OK to use the subjuntive in this case “E’ chiaro che nessuno conoscesse la verità”, and it is recommended in formal situations.


@mike-lima Your explanations are greatly appreciated. It’s very rewarding to finally be getting comfortable with the congiuntivo.

:raised_hand_with_fingers_splayed:t2: Ciao;-)


Thank you! I have found great explanations on Japanese sentences by @MsFixer, so I think it is only fair to “pay forward” where I can help in turn.


I got great answers and in-depth explanations from Indonesian native speakers on Duolingo. So, I’m just paying it forward to the Clozemaster Japanese community. Good to know that the loop is expanding here on Italian sentence discussions!

I wish SDs are also accessible via mobile apps during lessons. I know I can read them via mobile web browsers, but the lesson page of iOS app doesn’t show how many comments are posted. I believe good discussions incentivize more people to subscribe the PRO, and eventually we’ll get SDs more active. It’s just so sad to see such great explanations as @mike-lima 's hidden from the majority.


Sì sì, @MsFixer, SD is so helpful here, it also helps us to know each other a little. I see how much you contribute. Mind you, I greatly appreciate the lack of spam, ego-crazy Mods with big sticks and terrible trolls. Even if quieter, long may it continue.

Have a great day!