"Whom do you bless?"

Translation:את מי אתה מברך?

August 22, 2016

This discussion is locked.


Et mi ata mevarech

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Because it's accusative.


What would be the problem with «מי אתה מברך» i.e. removing the את?


For reasons that I do not understand, the question word מי is considered definite in Hebrew. (To me, an unknown person seems about as indefinite as you can get.) With a definite direct object you need את.


I don't think it's that מי is indefinite -- rather, it's like asking in English "Who are you blessing," rather than "Whom are you blessing". The את (et) doesn't belong to the מי, if that makes sense -- instead, it follows the מברך.

(I realize you've long moved on and probably speak far more Hebrew than I do at this point; this is for anyone else who comes across it.)


I was taught that את is the marker for a definite direct object. The only thing that resembles a direct object in this sentence is מי. Meanwhile, I'm pretty sure that we don't say את מה אתה רוצה. We say מה אתה רוצה, with no את. The upshot is that, for some obscure reason, מי counts as a definite direct object, but מה doesn't. This doesn't make any logical sense, but there are things in every language that don't make sense. We just have to get used to them.


Yes, it lacks logic, but grammar is not alway logical. Lewis Glinert writes in his Grammar of Modern Hebrew: "Acting as direct object, מי mi 'who' requires the 'direct object particle' את et, ordinarily only found with 'definite' pronouns (eg. את זה et ze 'this'). By contrast, מה ma 'what' takes את et only in 'echo questions, as in רָצִ֫יתִי אֶת זֶה ־ אֶת מָה? 'I wanted this. - You wanted what?".


Thanks. As usual, you're clear, prompt, and authoritative. I ask a lot of questions, and I've learned a lot from a handful of fellow users who patiently answer things. You're high on that list. Have a New Year's lingot.


I respectfully disagree. It's pure logic: the one you bless is a "definite person" (the blessed one) in contrast to "indefinite person" - one of the unblessed rest.


Well, the odd man out is מַה, not מִי, because you say מָה אַתָּה רוֹאֶה what do you see without אֶת , but אֶת מִי אַתָּה רוֹאֶה whom do you see, which lacks pure logic. (With bless I think you prefer using a preposition in Hebrew: עַל מָה אַתָּה מְּבָרֵךְ.


In response to "Well, the odd man out is..." - I see it in mathematical terms: one element of a set of unblessed elements (“an element” ) does not require an “et” since it is not defined while “the blessed element” you are asking about - is. “Ma?” as in “What do you see?” is a question of “Which of all elements remains in your field of perception?” - the elements you see will become definite once you name them. They are not definite yet. “Whom do you see?” is a question about a person you actually see. It is a definite person, the one you are looking at (unless you do not trust your senses) and as such requires an “et”.


Not a very formal explanation - It is an action you do on someone so you have to use Et.


Would this verb ever use ב before an object?


You use ב to express what you are blessed with, f.e. אֱלֹהִים לֹא בֵּרַךְ אֹתָ֫נוּ בִּילָדִים "God did not bless us with children".


I'm a bit salty because I did the feminine version, "את מי את מברכה?" and it told me that I had "typos in [my] answer" and 'corrected' it to the male version (את מי אתה מברך). It wasn't wrong... just feminine.



Well, the present מְבָרֶ֫כֶת is far more common, try that.


What if we changed the order, would אתה מברך את מי still make sense? Or is it awkward/wrong?


Not wrong, but it asks for a specific situation and emphasis, which this sentence does not provide.


Marked wrong for writing it it the more general sense: את" מי מברכים"


I like your sentence. "Whom do you bless?" Can certainly mean, "Whom does one bless?" In other words, in what general situations would one person give another person a blessing?


Me too, I understood it as a generalised question. את מי מברכים was marked wrong. :((

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