"You should have borrowed our apartment."

Translation:Měl sis půjčit náš byt.

September 13, 2017

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why is ¨Měl sis náš byt půjčit¨ not accepted? Is the last word in the sentence so critical?


The last word is the focus. Verbs in the focus are contrasted with something else.

"Měl sis náš byt půjčit" is saying: "You should have borrowed our apartment, but instead, you bought it, or you cleaned it, or you destroyed it, or you ate it (running out of ideas what you can do with an apartment)" ... out of these, only the "bought" option makes some kind of sense, so yeah, you could possibly say this to someone who bought your apartment from you and didn't like it, so you tell them they should have only borrowed it -- but the meaning is so far away that we would very likely want to include the word "only" in the sentence: Měl sis náš byt jenom půjčit (...ne koupit).

But we don't want to contrast the verb with anything.

If the person borrowed another apartment, we definitely want to place "our apartment" last, in contrast to the one he borrowed: "Měl sis půjčit náš byt" -- It was our apartment that you should have borrowed, not a different one.

And if both the verb (půjčit si) and the object (náš byt) are new pieces of information, as in, for example: You should have borrowed our apartment instead of using your own or instead of organizing the party at your friend's place or instead of doing something else, then we just use the DEFAULT word order, which is placing the object AFTER the verb, just like you do in English, because SVO (subject-verb-object) is the neutral/default word order in Czech as well.

As soon as you do not use the default word order, you're stressing something. And you need a reason to stress the verb (as illustrated above).


So půjčit is when it is in the past (you should have borrowed) , and with půjčil it's in the future (you should borrow)? That's counterintuitive


Um...huh? "půjčit" is the infinitive, "půjčil" the past. And "you should borrow" is not the future at all, "should" is conditional and it corresponds to Czech conditional "měl by sis". The past "měl sis" corresponds to "should" + past tense (have borrowed).

Sticking only to the perfective "půjčit si":

  • Půjčíš si. (this is the future tense) -- You will borrow.
  • Půjčil sis. (and this is the past tense) -- You borrowed.
  • Měl by sis půjčit. (conditional "mít" + infinitive "půjčit") -- You should borrow.
  • Měl sis půjčit. (past "mít" + infinitive "půjčit") -- You should have borrowed.
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