The phrase

Vi amas kiu?

Is that correct? or should it have an -n on the end of kiu?

Google translate says it shouldn't have one, I believe the -n goes on direct objects, can you determine that kiu is a direct object? I'd say it's not therefore doesn't need the -n.

  • 1
    Either vi or kiu is a direct object, as Joffysloffy explains. The verb ami does take a direct object, which is the target of the affection. – Oliver Mason Nov 1 at 9:52
  • 1
    What makes you think that "kiu(n)" is not the direct object? In its most common usage, the verb "ami" requires a direct object, i.e. it's a (mono-)transitive verb, much like the English verb "(to) love [someone/something]". Or should "kiu" be the subject and "vi(n)" be that direct object? – das-g Nov 1 at 10:41
  • @das-g Both interpretations are totally plausible, a good example how useful the accusative is. BTW: kiu(n) should appear in the beginning, unless it is an echo question - we don't know, as the OP did give no context. Generally I think this question is below the threshold of relevance, for such basic questions there are grammars. – Cyril Robert Brosch Nov 1 at 16:24
  • Google translate is far from perfect, and also its translation is statistical rather than grammatical. (And kiun (whom) it is.) If the original English contained who that would explain it. – Joop Eggen Nov 1 at 17:16
  • I know both interpretations are plausible, that why I'm asking the OP what they meant. – das-g Nov 2 at 0:14
up vote 13 down vote accepted

No, it is not a correct sentence. Either vi or kiu has to take the n-ending, depending on which one of them is the one who is being loved. Without it there is no way of telling which of the two is being loved and which of the two does the loving.

If you want to say “Whom do you love?”, it should be Kiun amas vi? (or some other word order, but usually kiun comes first). If you want to say “Who loves you?”, then it should be “Kiu amas vin?”. The sentences Vi amas kiun? and Vin amas kiu? mean the same thing as the previous respective sentences, but the word order is unusual.

Do not trust Google Translate for these kinds of things.

It is not correct. Subjects of sentences can be identified as nouns, pronouns or correlatives which don't have a preposition before them, and no -n ending. That sentence structure would incorrectly suggest that both vi and kiu are subjects. The only subject in that phrase is vi, so kiu takes the -n ending.

The same would apply in variations of the question, such as: "Vi amas kiun hundon?" "Vi amas kiun vian kolegon?" and to possible responses, such as: "Mi amas tiun" "Mi amas neniun" "Mi amas la princon"

There are cases when a preposition would indicate that kiu is not a subject, in that case no -n is needed: "Vi parolas pri kiu?" "Vi kuras al kiu?"

Or, if kiu would be a subject (who loves you?) then vi gets the -n: "Vin amas kiu?/Kiu amas vin?"

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