1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Czech
  4. >
  5. "Who can see bears?"

"Who can see bears?"

Translation:Kdo vidí medvědy?

September 24, 2017



The translation "Kdo muže vidět medvědy?" is not accepted. I think this should be an accepted answer, as it is a literal translation, which includes the "can" word, i.e. the indication of possibility. I've reported the answer, what do you think?


I think you have a spelling error, can is může not muže. Although I am learning Czech and i may be completely wrong.


He did spell může wrong, but I spelled it correctly and it was also not accepted. I think it should be too.


The English phrase "to be able to see" often means the same thing as "to see." In English they are pretty much interchangable, but not in Czech. "Kdo může vidět medvědy?" would mean something like "Who is capable of seeing bears?"

I'm not a native Czech speaker though, so it would be great if a native could confirm this.


Something like that. It could also mean something like "Who is/was allowed to see the bears?"

But if we are just discussing whether there is some obstacle between us and the bears, it is just "vidí". "Mí sousedé mi vidí až do pokoje." "My neighbours can see all the way to my living room."


where does the "can" show up in the czech translation?


You can translate the verb "vidět" as either "see" or "to be able to see". In English you can make a distinction, the Czech verb covers both meanings (i.e. you can express either thing with it).


"Kdo může vidět medvědy? = Who can see bears?" is correct like all the comments suggest here.

The issue is with English, where "I see" equals "I can see" in many contexts.

In Czech, if you want to talk about the possibility, not the fact that you see, you have to say it. (Kdo může vidět medvědy? Who can see bears? Lidé v zoo, myslivci,... People in the zoo, gamekeepers,...)


the problem is that in practice "I can see bears." almost never means the ability but rather the actual act of observing. so if we recognize the czech answer with mohu/můžu, we are most likely hurting some learners, who will end up thinking that czech works just like english here, which it does not. and if we switch the english side to "Who sees bears?" to avoid the predicament, it will be a less idiomatic english sentence.

Learn Czech in just 5 minutes a day. For free.