"Зачем тебе пятьдесят кошек?"

Translation:What do you need fifty cats for?

November 13, 2015

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Где нет кошек, там мыши!


Where is "need" in here? I don't get why my answer of "Why do you have fifty cats" is marked wrong.

[deactivated user]

    Where is "need" in here?

    It's omited. When you have an impersonal sentence with no adverb, no personal verb (infinitives don't count) or anything like that, it's often understood as having 'надо' (it's neccessary) or 'мо́жно' (it's possible) omited. You can usually get the exact meaning from the context:

    • Где купи́ть ко́тёнка? Where (is it possible) to buy a kitten? (i.e. Where can I buy a kitten? )
    • Куда́ положи́ть кни́гу? Where (it's neccessary/possible) to put the book? (i.e. Where could/should I put a book?)

    I don't get why my answer of "Why do you have fifty cats" is marked wrong.

    Have is usually translated with «у» + Genitive, while this sentence has Dative. «Заче́м у тебя́ 50 ко́шек?» would be a better translation to "Why do you have fifty cats".

    However, I believe it this case it's a pretty vague distinction, and probably "Why do you have fifty cats?" should be accepted too. If you get this sentence again, you could use 'Report a Problem' button to bring course authors' attention to this sentence.


    Surely the idea of "need" is such an essential one, how can it possibly not have a word?

    [deactivated user]

      Why do you think 'need' is essential here? Sentences "Why do you need 50 cats?" and "Why do you have 50 cats?" are to a large extent interchangeable. Doesn't this prove that the idea of 'need' is not essential in this sentence?


      It is DL who says that "need" is essential. And I don't think your two English sentences do mean the same thing.


      The sentences aren't exactly the same in terms of precise meaning, even if the intent of the speaker might be the same (expressing amazement over one person owning 50 cats. ;-) )


      "need" IS essential if one wants to understand why dative Мне is used. I think most of those who translated "why do you have" had mistaken тебе for у тебя


      They are not interchangable.


      Just learning here as well, but I think the "need" is tucked in with the question word. It's not почему, but зачем. Not why, but why for.


      Как сказать "crazy cat lady" на русском?


      'What do you have fifty cats for?' should be accepted, right? I always read зачем as 'What for'.


      If it was possible to translate as "why do you have" it would be totally obscure why dative мне is there.


      it is accepted now.


      That is a very good question


      If I get it right the Duolingo translation is correct, and the Russian phrase (just like German "Wozu brauchst Du fünfzig Katzen"?) does not tell us whether the addressed person already has fifty cats or whether he thinks about acquiring that many. It just expresses the astonishment of the speaker, right?


      Fifty? Seriously?


      This person needs a show on TLC.


      First time i've seen possesion without у вас or something close. :o


      why is "what are your 50 cats for" wrong?


      Why is the dative тебе used here?


      So this sentence is literally, "Why 50 cats for you?", right?


      Зачем is more like: 'for what purpose'. 'Why' could be answered with that they just came walking in.


      Sure, but in English "why" and "for what purpose" are somewhat interchangeable. It would have been impossible for me to translate that as "For what purpose 50 cats for you?" The only understandable way to say it is "Why 50 cats for you?", which is essentially what it was saying.


      They would make a nice warm blanket.


      Не ваше дело.


      потому что я сумасшедшая кошка леди?!


      my motives are beyond your understanding


      How do you say:"What do you need for 50 cats?"


      Why is it not pronounced Pee-aht for 5?


      It's not 5, it's 50.


      A handy tool - https://russiangram.com/ Put in your word to see stressed vowels, then you know others vowels are at least first level reduction.


      Because I'll be single forever! That's why!

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