1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Greek
  4. >
  5. "Ποιανής είναι αυτός ο καφές;"

"Ποιανής είναι αυτός ο καφές;"

Translation:Whose coffee is this?

September 8, 2016



Why is it ποιανής here as opposed to ποιανού?


Both are correct answers!!! ποιανού is the masculine genitive, while ποιανής is the feminine genitive. In this sentence we imply the owner of the coffee is a woman :)


Ah ok I understand now, thanks.


On the other hand, if we use ποιανού, we don't imply anything about the owner's gender.


If you already know the owner, why imply the gender? unless you've already narrowed it down to a small field of female suspects ;)

If you don't know the gender of the owner, would you always default to ποιανού?


Ποιανής means all suspects are female, yes.

And yes, always use ποιανού if you don't know anything about the owner's gender.


"Ποιανής είναι αυτή η σερβιέτα;" (σερβιέτα= panty liner) As you can see, in this case you can't say "Ποιανού είναι αυτή η σερβιέτα;".


you'd be surprised...


You could be serving a group of ladies


Maybe you're in a room full of women? Therefore, "Ποιανής είναι αυτός ο καφές;".


So when I answer "Which woman does this coffee belong to?" why is this marked wrong?


Too much information. It could be a group of girls, or mixed group of women and girls, or even a group of anthropomorphic cows in a story. (Actually, I've heard of people feeding coffee to their pets, so it's not that far-fetched.)

And it doesn't really correspond. In English, saying ‘woman’ goes out of your way to point out that they're all women. In Greek, however, we're not going out of our way to say that they're all female. If you know that they're all female, and you don't imply it, then you're grammatically wrong. It's automatic. (At least, that's how similar things work in Spanish. I don't know Greek that well.)


I'm having a bit of a problem understanding this construct. I'm native Spanish speaker and no similar construct comes to my mind (at least right now). Can you please elaborate on "that's how similar things work in Spanish"? Perhaps that'll help me understand.


If I understand correctly, I think the comment about Spanish just refers to the default grammatical masculine but that it's easy to tell when it's an all feminine referent. The Greek construction here is in the genitive for "whose" and since Spanish doesn't decline nouns I don't think Spanish helps in this case. The sentence literally is "Whose is this coffee?" but in idiomatic English that becomes "Whose coffee is this?" // ¿De quién es este café?"


Sencillo. En castellano decimos ¿de quién es?, con independencia de que el supuesto dueño sea masculino o femenino, mientras que en griego existe esa diferencia. Ποιανου (GENITIVO SINGULAR) para el caso masculino, y Παιανής (GENITIVO FEMENINO) para el femenino. A la traducción, ambos significan ¿Para quién?


So would "which female does this belong to" technically be correct? As a native English speaker there's really no easy equivalent


The English is easy: who does this coffee belong to? (or technically, to whom does this coffee belong).

Or, whose coffee is this?


Why is it wrong to translate as "Whose coffee is that?"


I suspect it is because αυτός means "this", not "that". Greek, like English, has demonstrative pronouns for two degrees of distance - αυτός for the nearer and εκείνος for the farther.


Is "Τίνος είναι αυτός ο καφες;" acceptable? I didn't type this but I'd find "τίνος" easier to remember and spell correctly.


AniOhev said: The sentence literally is "Whose is this coffee?" but in idiomatic English that becomes "Whose coffee is this?" Interesting! There is in fact a very subtle difference between the two, and if I had time I would try to explain the difference. I don't think it's a question of one being more idiomatic than the other—it's more to do with...well, that's what I'm figuring out.

Whose is this coffee?

Whose coffee is this?

In normal non-pedantic company, either would pass as perfect English.

When the company includes pedants, such as me, the situation might be as follows: Imagine our table, full of people, with lots of coffees and one appears not to have found an owner yet. The question might be: Whose coffee is this?

Imagine another table with or without people around it, and with or without one or more coffees sitting there. The question might be: Whose is this coffee?

A fine distinction which may not stand up to scrutiny. Opinions?


I appreciate your input. It's worth pondering, for sure. Ευχαριστώ


Isn't "Καφέ" wrong?


It is here, yes, because you need the nominative case καφές and not the accusative case καφέ.

αυτός ο καφές is the subject of the verb "to be" here.


is : " whose is this coffee" a correct answer ? à qui est le café ? de qui est le café ???


It should be correct, falsa3. Strictly speaking it should be even more correct than the answer given in the heading, which of course is impeccable.


Αυτος= he Αυτό= it.?


αυτός = he, αυτή = she, αυτό = it. (Mind the accent on αυτός.)

All three words also mean "this", e.g. αυτός ο καφές "this coffee", αυτή η εφημερίδα "this newspaper", αυτό το αυτοκίνητο "this car".


Ο καφές είναι δικό μου.


όχι ειναι "Ο καφές ειναι ΔΙΚΟΣ μου"


OK, you can have it.


It is "who's coffee is it?"


No. "Who's" translates in English as "who is". The "whose" here is used to indicate possession, "who's" is a contraction and does not indicate the same thing.


Should it agree with the owner or with the owned thing?


Should ποιανού, ποιανής, ποιανού agree with the owner or with the owned thing?


Greek possessives, like English, agree with the gender of the person or owner, not the noun they are describing (as in Spanish and French). If the owner of the cup / coffee / dog is feminine, then the question word is fem.


The comments are clear, but I still find this a confusing example (without having mentioned that it must concern here a group of women; or at least two women). The example ποιανής γυναίκας, would have been better


It doesn't necessarily refer to females: "Whose" is for both masculine and feminine nouns, both of which are accepted for this exercise.


What if we were asking the same question to a group of boys? Would we have to use a neuter version of ποιανού/ποιανής, since αγόρια (boys) is neuter? Does such version exist?

Also, are there plural versions of ποιανού/ποιανής? Like, if we were on a classroom with, let's say, 5 groups of 5 students each, and each group leaves their homework on the desk and the teacher asks "Whose is this (homework)?" In Spanish we would say "¿De quiénes es esta (tarea)?", and "quiénes" is plural but doesn't change with gender in Spanish

I hope I made myself clear haha


Surely, Vale, if you are talking to a group of boys, you would address them as boys, not the neuter things that Greek grammar calls them.


    There are neuter forms for this and you actually use them to address children when you refer to them as boys/girls/children - αγόρια/κορίτσια/παιδιά. Since Greek grammar uses neuter words in such cases, you use the other neuter words that go with them. E.g.

    Ποιο παιδί πεινάει; = Ποιο παιδί είναι πεινασμένο; Αll are neuter, same goes if you replace with αγόρι, κορίτσι. You'll say Ποιο κορίτσι είναι πεινασμένο; not πεινασμένη, simply because it would not be grammatically correct and it actually sounds wrong. To use the feminine form you have to do it across the sentence: Ποια είναι πεινασμένη; That would be fine if you're addressing girls, but you always have to commit to one grammatical gender.


    My answer: Who's is this coffee is, I think, technically a more accurate translation, but was marked wrong.


    "who's" is a contraction = who is, so you wrote "who is is this coffee is," which makes no sense.


    But it's an interesting combination of words, Ani. You'll rarely if ever see it again. Enjoy it while you can.


    My answer: Who's is this coffee is, I think, technically a more accurate translation

    No - "who is is this coffee" does not make sense in English. ("who's" is a contraction of "who is".)

    The possessive form of "who" is spelled "whose" in English. Possessive pronouns and determiners have no apostrophes -- we write "its" and not "it's", "his" and not "hi's", "your" and not "you're", etc.

    Had you written "Whose is this coffee?", it would have been accepted.

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