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"Who do we pay?"

April 15, 2013



I'm confused about why it is Wen and not Wer?


My guess is because its the accusative case?


Correct. "Who do we pay?" or more correctly, "Whom do we pay?"

Think about who is doing the paying - "We", therefore "Wir" is the subject. The question asks for the name of the person that receives the payment. In other words, who receives the action of the verb. The person/thing that receives the action of a verb - receives the pay - is the Direct Object, and thus "wer" takes on the Accusative case "wen" In English "who" becomes "whom"

It's a little awkward because the subject comes after the verb (something we don't do too often in English) which makes us immediately think the first thing is the subject, and the latter the accusative.

What I do is take my time to fully translate a sentence best I can. Enough to understand the gist of what is going on. Then I work out who is doing the verb, and who is receiving the verb.

It sounds silly easy, but when word order gets mangled you realize this is helpful. After a day or two you get faster and faster and the whole process becomes rather trivial


In that case shouldn't it be Wem? Bezahlen in this case should be followed by dative case, I,e, Ich bezahle ihm; I'm paying TO him - Ich bezahle ihn (accusative) sounds like I am buying him


It's wen, because it is accusative. "Ich bezahle ihn" is correct, you're confusing bezahlen with kaufen. "Ich kaufe ihn" would literally mean you are buying him.


ok I know it means paying, but when you say "Ich bezahle ihn" to me it sounds like I'm paying him as if I'm buying him. "Ich bezahle ihm" would be I'm paying "to" him


Why is "Wen zahlen wir" wrong?


zahlen I thought was the verb "to count" so that would be translated "who are we counting" (PS - I'm no expert)

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