1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Russian
  4. >
  5. "Зачем нам так много кошек?"

"Зачем нам так много кошек?"

Translation:Why would we need that many cats?

June 9, 2016



Should this not have "нужно"? Or am I confused again?


Both versions are correct.


You can never have too many cats. Low on food? Boom. Now you have 12 hunters that can bring you dead rodents, birds, and insects to eat


хорошие котята!


How would it be "why do we need ..."?


I don't know if this will help, but I also struggled with this sentence. I wrote, "Why do we have so many cats?", which was marked wrong. So I went and got my Russian wife. As she explained it to me, if you think of the first two words as "what for us" that's where the concept of need comes from. It's not that you already have the cats, you are asking "For us, why so many cats?" I imagine a couple in a pet store looking at a litter of kittens. One person wants them all and the other replies зачем нам так много кошек?


I would never have figured it out. Thank you. Posted 3 years ago. Are you fluent now? I just need to know to give me some encouragement.


As you know, почему means "why" and so does зачем. However, dissecting the words yields two different forms of the question "why?". They both have чем, which means "that." по means "by" and за means "for". Therefore, зачем is "for that" and почему is "by that". In conclusion, зачем asks more about reason and почему is focused more on method.


Excellent explanation.


Thank you very much for such an excellent explanation. It helps a lot!

[deactivated user]

    Thanx.. now i get it


    And what about "What we have that many cats for?"


    "What do we need so many cats for" is somewhat pompous English but it seems an accurate translation to me (a native speaker of neither Russian nor English). Sadly, it is not accepted.


    If it ends with a preposition, then "pompous" isn't an apt description.

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