"Czym jest miłość?"
Translation:What is love?
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I would definitely agree. If I heard "Co to miłość?" it would probably take me a moment to understand what was meant, because it just seems to miss something.
In fact, I think you should make a pause before "miłość", and the sentence should be written as: Co to jest „miłość”? - given the fact that this way you're basically asking for a definition of this word.
I wonder about why it has to be “czym” instead of “co”, although the most obvious answer is: Because it's the instrumental, which has to be used because of the verb, “být”. But why does “co” have to be adjusted in accordance with the grammatical case required in this sentence? Why can't we just leave it as “co”? Depending on what the iterator of the question had in mind to be answered, it should rather address the noun in the sentence, “miłość”, so that it should consequently be adjusted in accordance with the grammatical required, thus becoming “miłośćą”, if I am not mistaken. (It should be female)
I may humiliate myself either for the lack of knowledge in grammar presupposed at this level, or because I mistook what the question asks for. But anyway, I cannot stop wondering about why it is “czym” instead of “co”.
So you are asking why it's "Czym jest miłość" instead of "Co jest miłością"?
Since questions have the same case configuration as their answers, let's convert both sentences into an answer first:
Miłość jest pojęciem abstrakcyjnym. - Love is an abstract concept.
Miłością jest pojęcie abstrakcyjne. - The abstract concept is a love.
I've only replaced 'co' with the answer 'pojęcie abstrakcyjne' and kept the same case. Now, why does the second one sound so wrong?
The rule is: [Nominative noun] jest/są [instrumental noun] = [Nominative noun] is an element in a set of [instrumental noun].
Love is an element in the set of abstract concepts, but you can't say that an abstract concept is an element in a set of 'love'.
Here are some more examples:
Ah, I see! So, love is the referrer to what has to be explained. It is love that was asked to be explained, and so the answer enquired to be given apparently had to be put into the instrumental case as it was about to be described.
Thanks a lot, I really misunderstood the introductory question to be translated, hence my confusion.