"Matěj lives here now."

Translation:Matěj teď bydlí tady.

September 18, 2017

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As an experiment, I tried "Matěj tady bydlí teď." Apparently, Czech syntax isn't quite that flexible, and I broke it. =)


There is a limit to the flexibility. And it is probably very hard to tell. Not to mention in certain situations you could probably use 'weird' syntaxes to point out awkward situations. That said, the most common and acceptable here would be

Matěj teď bydlí tady

Matěj tady teď bydlí

Matěj teď tady bydlí.


I wrote "Matěj teď tady bydlí" and it wasn't accepted


that was my fault. It will be from now on. sorry


I see, so I happened upon the wrong combo, and the verb doesn't want to go follow the subject directly if it means putting the "extra" words together at the end, as in the English. Thanks.


matěj žije teď tady???


I can't address word order -- having plenty of trouble with that myself'! But (at least in my head...) "bydlet" is more like "to live somewhere, / to reside" while "žít" is simply "to be alive." But maybe "žít" is fine here...


"Teď Matěj tady bydlí" was not accepted. Is it wrong to use "teď" on the begin?


Now I tried "Teď tady bydlí Matěj" and this was accepted. ( Another exemple was "Teď ty stroje vyrabejí oni".) So I think that the subject has to be either on the begin or on the end of the sentence. Is that correct?


No, "tady" behaves as an inconstant clitic here, it should be in the second position when it is not first or final.


It's not about the position of the subject. For example, we accept "Teď Matěj bydlí tady" and "Teď bydlí Matěj tady".

In your sentence, "Teď Matěj tady bydlí", you have "tady" in the wrong place. Words like "teď" and "tady" are either unstressed - then they go to the second position, or they're stressed - then they go to the beginning (topic) or the end (focus, key information).


Great comment thank you, but I may have pushed it too far.

I'm imagining the conversation going: František used to live here, soon Žofie will. Matěj lives here now.

Topic: Bydlí Key info: Matěj

But "Bydlí teď tady Matěj" was not accepted. Where's the mistake? Maybe the topic is bydlí tady?


The problem with that is that we don't use the main verb as the topic because that word order is reserved for questions. As soon as you start with the main verb, you're asking a question.

Another problem is that "tady" has more muscle and will come first within the second position:

"Bydlí tady teď Matěj?" -- Is it Matěj (key info) that is living here now?

Keeping "Matěj" as the focus (last position), we have these (non-question) options:

  • Teď tady bydlí Matěj. -- with teď stressed (topic) -- and (as for) NOW, it's Matěj who lives here.
  • Tady teď bydlí Matěj. -- with tady stressed (topic) -- and (as for) HERE, it's Matěj who now lives here

EDIT: There's an exception where starting with the verb does not automatically make it a question -- when the subject is a personal pronoun (já, ty, on...) and it's not expressed. E.g. "Dělá na zahradě." (He's working in the garden.) -- this is also a statement, because there's a hidden "on" before the verb.


I really appreciate your (and others') thorough explanations of word order, especially as it relates to topic and comment... yet I despair of ever really Getting It. :-(


BhB: You seem to get most of it :) And then you absorb more and more mainly through exposure (movies, songs, talking to people...).

It's usually possible to use more than one word order in a given situation, so it's not important to always find the exact best one (best match) given all the possible topic+focus combinations.

The clitics might be a bit of a headache because they have an arbitrary preferred order in which they want to come within the second position (as in "Matěj tady teď bydlí" over "Matěj teď tady bydlí"), but people understand the sentence anyway, even if the clitics order is changed. Exposure eventually helps you get the order right without even thinking about it.


How can we know when it's possible to add teď at the end? I put "Matěj bydlí tady teď" since it seemed like it'd emphasize "now" but it wasn't accepted


It's possible, but when you choose to stress "teď", it means you're no longer stressing "tady", so put it back to the unstressed second position: "Matěj tady bydlí teď." (which is accepted)

Also note that such word order doesn't work as a standalone statement, but rather an answer to questions like "Did Matěj use to live here?" or "Is Matěj planning on living here?"

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