"Kien mi metus tion?"
Translation:Where would I put that?
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My thought: "should" is wrong. The -us ending has to do with a hypothetical event (without respect to the time, past present or future). The only context that fits the grammar here is that you're talking about something that you don't have and asking the question about what location that "something" could occupy in the imagined situation of you actually having it. That idea is expressed "where would".
To express "should", you'd most likely use the -u ending (kind of like giving an order to yourself.) "Kien mi metu tion." Where should I put that.
I guess I was confused a little by section's tips which said to use -us for polite questions. It makes sense that qualifying the question by saying "... if I .." does give some sense of it being more polite and it still fits with the rule that -us is used for hypothetical situations. Thanks.
This case with devus is the reason I suggested this as how I would translate such things as I often avoid using the English word "should" unless it is in this sense.
The other definition of should, being a strange way in English to represent an imperative command, is something I don't use in English for many reasons including that I perceive it to be a passive aggressive method of commanding others.
Even for the sentence "Where should I put that?" I would translate as "Kien mi devus meti tion?" since "should" is representing the unfulfilled need to put down the object in this sentence.
For the commanding sense of "should" (which again I hate, another reason for this hate being that it is originally the past tense form of the word "shall" but when used to command it is in the present tense and serving as a more "polite" form of the word "shall") we must use -U as it is imperative and also there are cases where "should" is used in the subjunctive mood such as "It is important that you should stay by her side".
My point was simply that while it is correct as a translation to use "should" to interpret certain -us sentences, it is better to use the more specific ways of expressing "should" which include the "devus -i" construction and the "-U" jussive construction where appropriate to clarify the meaning.
EDIT: Also in translating from EO to EN, when the -U form is used then we almost never need to actually translate it as "should".
Ni iru = "We should go" or "Let's go" the latter of which sounds better to me
Another example is in the subjunctive mood as in the sentence I put "It is important that you should stay by her side", the word "should" here is completely redundant. "It is important that you stay by her side" works just as well and seems more clear to me.
The ending -us by itself does not mean could, or should. It means something hypothetical that is not happening in reality. (Se mi havus magian elefanton, kien mi metus tion?). This is why it's often (*) translated as "would."
Quite often () "devus" is kind of a special case. It can (and usually () does) mean that there is real obligation, but that the obligation has not been met. This is why it's often translated as "should". It can also mean "would have to" depending on the context.
Attentive readers of this thread will notice that I have given two different ways to say "should". This was intentional. As always, it's better to focus on expressing ideas rather than translating words. If you have questions on this particular point, it would be helpful if your question (should anybody have one) included examples of ideas that you'd like to express.
(*) Notice in the example I give, the translation only says "would" once - if I had an magic elephant, where would I put it?
() Bertilo describes it as plej ofte - most often.
Adverbs (and adverb-like words) ending in -en describe a motion and have an equivalent adverb ending with -e describing a location:
tie – (in) there
tien – (to) there
kie – where
kien – (to) where
hejme – at home
hejmen – home (as in mi iras hejmen – I am going home)
This has nothing with the sentence object or with the accusative, except for the fact that this feature was designed to look similar to accusative, since accusative is used after a preposition to indicate direction:
en la domo – in the house
en la domon – into the house
sur la seĝo – on the chair
sur la seĝon – onto the chair