"Jaka jest przyczyna ich porażki?"
Translation:What is the reason for their failure?
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As noted below, it wouldn't. "Cause of"/"Reason for"/"Reason behind" are the accepted answers.
There are so many comments here that I'm not sure to which one you replied, but apparently "reason of" is wrong and it has to be "reason for". Alternatively, "reason behind" or "cause of".
I was wondering about that too. There's a strange gap between Jikky's and Dorota's comments... At least one comment seems to have disappeared.
In many contexts the meaning is the same. But "powód" http://sjp.pwn.pl/szukaj/pow%C3%B3d is a bit less used than "przyczyna" https://sjp.pwn.pl/sjp/przyczyna;2511925.html , because "powód" has also 2 other meanings:
- "powód" is a man suing (in court) somebody (a woman suing somebody is "powódka")
- it is also a rope used to lead a horse.
Other than other uncommon meanings of powód, I think they are interchangeable.
I think that sounds as if they failed on purpose because of some reason...
Yes, or if asked, in a self evaluation, to "Give a reaseon for their failiure". But, is it a viable translation?
at the risk of being nuisance, can you explain or point me to an explanation for why co and jaka require different cases for przyczyna? As always, thank you for your helpful explanations.
'Co' works like a noun ("What is the reason?"), so it requires the instrumental case. 'Jaka' is an adjective (literally "What reason is there?"), and so 'przyczyna' is the subject of the sentence (nominative). I hope that helps...
It is much worse than you think.
In Polish, every verb structure requires an Object, or Direct Object and Indirect Object to be in certain grammatical cases. Sometimes there are 2 cases possible, each giving the phrase a different meaning (even if there are the same nouns involved). Sometimes the verb structure is just a verb.
In this case, the verb structure is composed of interrogative pronoun jaki + verb jest. The structure jaka jest requires:
\1. either an Object in Nominative (usually a noun or noun phrase)
- Direct Object in Nominative (here: przyczyna)
- and Indirect Object. If there is NO modifier, the Indirect Object has to be in Genitive case. The modifiers can be prepositions, eg. "na" changes the case to Accusative, "w" changes the case to Locative, "pod" changes the case to Instrumental , etc.
In this sentence, the Indirect Object is ich porażka. Luckily, that the pronoun ich (= their or theirs) does not have any declension, it is just ich in every grammatical case.
And here is the declension of porażka (= failure, defeat, beating)
- Nominative (mianownik) (sing.) porażka - (pl.) porażki
- Genitive (dopełniacz) (sing.) porażki - (pl.) porażek
- Dative (celownik) (sing.) porażce - (pl.) porażkom
- Accusative (biernik) (sing.) porażkę - (pl.) porażki
- Instrumental (narzędnik) (sing.) porażką - (pl.) porażkami
- Locative (miejscownik) (sing.) porażce - (pl.) porażkach
- Vocative (wołacz) (sing.) porażko - (pl.) porażki
As you see, the Genitive singular is the same as Nominative plural: porażki. That is the case of many nouns in Polish language. So if you see something that looks like a Nominative plural, you'd better know what is the case which is required by the verb, because that word might be a Genitive singular instead.
P.S. The verb jest alone requires either Nominative or Instrumental, depending on type of phrase.