"The smoke of the volcano blew towards us."
Translation:La fumo de la vulkano blovis al ni.
"Al" has alwas got a directional meaning and is therefore used without accusative.
*La fumo de la vulkano blovis nin. – That sounds as if we were blown away.
No, the problem in the last sentence is that in that sentence the smoke blows. The smoke can't blow, it is blown. And thanks for answering the "-n" question, I also wanted to ask that.
blovis is intransitive so the smoke could not be blowing us [as an object]. Duolingo suggests alblovis nin but rejects blovis nin - which I find confusing.
What I wanted to say is that the use of nin lets it look like a direct object. As blovi can used also transitively it would be confusing.
Is the English sentence correct, by the way? Does smoke blow?
I think one could say "nien"
The smoke of course does not do the blowing, it is blown by the wind or perhaps the volcano. I would expect only blovigxis to be correct here, not blovis.
You could say the same of wind. Is the wind the blower or the blown? @officialjaden
Do we check dictionaries, or do dictionaries check us? @officialjaden
But the definitions I'm seeing for netransitiva "blovi" in PIV are "to move air, to push air" -- things that the smoke is not doing.
I recommend that you check again. The first sense of blovi in PIV-o is Movi fluforme la aeron en difinita direkto, that is, to move the air as a stream in a specific direction. The smoke does that. Even if some may argue to the contrary and insist that only the wind blows –and anything that it carries doesn't– there is also an example from Z. in PIV-o to retort: “muroj, de kiuj blovis malsekeca odoro de kalko”. Not only the wind blows. Also smells, odors and smoke do.
I don't consider "towards" and "to" to mean the same thing. Consider something more solid than smoke. How would you translate "I threw the ball towards you." versus "I threw the ball to you." The first being "in your direction", the second being "to the spot that you are at with the intention that you would catch it".
"Al vi" is direction - the primary meaning of "al" is direction. With some verbs it denotes that something reached a particular point.
For destination, you could say "ĝis mi" or "ĉe min." Or "trapasi al mi."
If I want to make that difference I say:
to me – al mi
towards me – renkonte al mi