Кем instead of кто? Why is the instrumental case required here? » NEWS 244



Кем instead of кто? Why is the instrumental case required here?





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5 комментариев к «Кем instead of кто? Why is the instrumental case required here?»
  1. Быть requires instrumental case: быть врачом, быть пожарным, быть хорошим, сильным

    Here: были … кем?

  2. Both forms are ok.
    Кем мы были – sounds more about job, occupation.
    Кто мы были – sounds more fundamental (people, gods, ghosts).

  3. It’s the “instrumental of state”, used with verbs like *быть* and *стать* when talking about mutable states. Strictly speaking, *быть* doesn’t universally require it, but it’s natural to use it here because life is a transformative process. You aren’t born with a lengthy career behind you; you become things and achieve things over the course of your life.

  4. Мы is the subject here, and as others have said, быть calls for instrumental case. It doesn’t have a good direct translation into English but think of it as something like “as whom” or “as what.”

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