"What did she buy the photographs of Moscow for?"

Translation:Зачем она купила фотографии Москвы?

November 14, 2015

This discussion is locked.


«Для чего» and «Зачем» are equally, aren't they?


зачем is about the reason for the purchase, для чего about the intended use of the pictures.


Зачем has an almost existential nuance to it. You're calling the nature of something into question. In this case, it's asking 'why on earth did she buy those pictures.'


and therefore, 'Why did she buy photos of Moscow' should be accepted. (not that I know that it is not lol).


In other/the most cases "зачем" means "for what purpose", and "почему" - "for what reason".

But in this sentence differences between "зачем" and "почему" are such insignificant.

Thererfore both shoud be considered acceptable.


I think "what did she buy them for?" essentially means the same thing in English as "Why did she buy them?" but its somewhat idiomatic and clumsy at the same time, and I would prefer "why did she buy them" every time.


AIUI, Russian has two different sorts of 'why': почему, 'because of what?', and 'зачем', 'for what purpose?'. So the slightly awkward English is to show that it's the second meaning.


I agree. Question 'why': "Why did she buy so and so?" ("Почему она купила ...?"). Answer 'why': "Because she had been told that it was a good idea to send it to...". Question 'what for': "What did she buy this for" ("зачем она купила ...?"). Answer 'what for': "To send it to..."


I find it best to associate зачем with the more rural phrase "how come" and then I change it later. So "Зачем она купила..." would become "How come she bought...." And then I dress up the translation more formally.


In this context, 'why' would sound more natural in English.


I used снимки instead of photographs, guess that's slang? I heard and used this word a lot when I lived there decades ago.


... and фотки.


The hints are the worst


One of the reasons I like Russian language so much is shown here... not that I know so much Russian, far from that, but in my eyes (Netherlands) Russians can say a lot in a few words... kind of a secret layer, double meanings of words and both are intended to be communicated at the same time... maybe that's why Russia has many poets. :-)


So купить is perfective? And покупить is imperfective? Well, that makes sense (not)


Why not "за что она купила фотографии Москвы" ?

Learn Russian in just 5 minutes a day. For free.