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  5. "Čí je to automobil?"

"Čí je to automobil?"

Translation:Whose car is that?

September 7, 2017



The same again... Why cannot I say "Whose is that car?" It was a mistake, ze?


I had this problem too.

A.) Whose car is [that]?

B.) Whose is [that car]?

In A, the word "that" is just the standalone word for "that unspecified thing over there" - which is always "to".

In B, the word "that" is part of "that car", and so it changes depending on the gender of the thing to which it refers - in this case, "automobil" is (I think) masculine inanimate, which would make it "ten" not "to". So while the meaning of the two sentences is identical, they are not both literal translations.

I believe if the object in question were neuter, then either would be acceptable, but I may be wrong.


And "Whose is the car" - mistake. Why this difference so principal?


In English both of AdamHawker's sentences mean the same thing. So both should be accepted as translations.


Needs to be corrected. The voice says Čí je TO automobil but in a previous question it was said that automobil is masculine so it should be TEN automobil or TO auto. Consistency please.


"Čí je to" is the common "je to"/"to je" construction. Čí je to matka? Čí je to dítě? Čí je to syn? Čí je to žena?

I suggest to be more humble and ask why is it this way instead of crying this is wrong and must be corrected.


You're right that I could have phrased that more tactfully. I apologise. I actually got this question right, my problem was due to a previous question. That question insisted the correct answer was "Či je ten automobil"

So both "Či je ten" and "Či je to" could be used with automobil?

I usually enjoy learning Czech because even though there are lots of different rules, declensions and cases so far I have found it to be consistent


You must distinguish:

Čí je (ten automobil)? Čí je (ten muž)? Čí je (ta žena)? Čí je (to dítě)? Čí jsou (ti lidé)?


(Čí je to) automobil? (Čí je to) muž? (Čí je to) žena? (Čí je to) dítě? (Čí jsou to) lidé?

Those are two different grammatical constructions.


Thanks for this explanation. What is the difference in meaning between these two constructions?


In the first case the ten/ta/to is a demonstrative that directly modifies the noun. Like in English the/the car.

In the other case the to is a part of the "je to"/"to je" construction. Syntactically it probably belongs to the predicate here.


This was a fantastic explanation. The brackets did the trick for me! Thank you!


I understand that there is a difference between "whose car is that?" and "whose is that car? But I cannot understand the correctness of the czech sentence "Čí je to automobil", which is one of the czech sentences which we should hear and type, because here the "to" is cleary "grouped" with automobil - "to automobil" - and the two should then be in line with each other in gender, i.e. "ten automobil". I remember something vaguely that automobil can be neuter or male, is that the reason?


No, the "to" is grouped with "je". This is the common "je to"/"to je" construction.

Čí je ten automobil? Is a similar sentence where "the" is grouped with automobil.


Would I be correct with the following mental images to distinguish between the To and Ten. You walk in a public garage and there's only one car so you ask: "Čí je TO automobil?" - You walk in a public garage and there's a beautiful car in the middle of many other cars so you point toward the car and ask: "Čí je TEN automobil?"


It is a bit harder to go by feel because normally we would say "auto" and that is to in both versions.

You can use either in both situations. The difference is mostly grammatical.

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