"Зачем тебе пятьдесят кошек?"
Translation:What do you need fifty cats for?
36 CommentsThis discussion is locked.
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.
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?
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?
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.