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  5. "Nikdy nebyl nemocný?"

"Nikdy nebyl nemocný?"

Translation:Was he never sick?

September 22, 2017

10 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dsarkarati

"Wasn't he ever sick?" is a more natural sounding translation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Necabby

I agree, and also think ."Was he ever sick?" works in this case. The double negative is a difficult concept to grasp for english speakers :D


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ValaCZE

I would translate ."Was he ever sick?" like "Byl někdy nemocný?". The czech sentence is negative so the english translation can't be positive.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ValaCZE

"Wasn't he ever sick?" - "Nebyl NĚKDY nemocný?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yama842603

I'm German so that might be the reason I come up with this thought: I get that it is only a grammatical construct to show that he never ever was even remotely close to being sick. But this sentence looks like a triple negative to me. Or did I miss something?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dlehrke

Unfortunately this is just a tricky part of Czech but you might want to try to think about it as the negative statements tending to just build up and 'confirm' each other. German and English tend to look at these statements as a math problem so Czech is tricky... especially because sometimes it works like we're used to.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VladaFu

Czech uses negative concord (double negatives).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PaulRobert667871

As others have been pointing out, this construction is very odd in English.

To ask 1) "Was he ever sick?" means the speaker does not know - he could have been sick zero times or many times.

2) "Was he never sick?" responds to a different context. The person asking might already have guessed or learned that the person has never been sick, and this question is asked to verify, emphasize, or repeat in surprise that the person was never sick.

If there is just this one construction in Czech, and context creates the appropriate emphasis, then I think "Was he ever sick?" is the better translation in English.

But if this construction in Czech is emphasizing that the person asking already knew/suspected that "he was never sick", then how would one construct the more common form in English for "Was he ever sick?"

Thanks!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VladaFu

Seems that number 2) describes the Czech sentence quite well.

Was he ever sick? Byl někdy nemocný? - exactly as ValaCZE pointed out.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dlehrke

I think it sounds fine. Maybe he died suddenly and they are asking if he was sick before.

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