"There were two right shoes and four left ones there."

Translation:Byly tam dvě pravé boty a čtyři levé.

September 30, 2017

21 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Goran12

The natural way to say this in Czech (unfortunately unaccepted now) is "Byly tam dvě pravé a čtyři levé boty." In English, the natural way is to use a noun for its first occurrence and pronouns later, in Czech it is vice versa, the noun should be in the last case the object is mentioned in the sentence, and before the object is signalled by omission of the noun before "a" or the comma. Current "correct translation" sounds less unnatural than "there were two right ones and four left shoes there" would in English, but it still sounds clumsy. Perhaps it should be kept as acceptable, but not as preferred.


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

Your suggestion is now accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Raika682521

If so, why was my "Byly tam dvě pravé a čtyři levé boty." not accepted?


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

"Byly tam dvě pravé a čtyři levé boty" is definitely accepted. But we have no current report for it, so we can't tell you why, if that was your exact answer, it was rejected. Please use the Report button, even if you also comment.


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

I disagree, the preferred translation (dvě pravé boty a čtyři levé) sounds completely natural to me. Your suggestion (dvě pravé a čtyři levé boty) might be better in some contexts, but to me they're quite interchangeable.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tenpenny2

Why can't "tam" go at the end of the sentence?


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

It is a pretty strange place for it. It would make it the point of the message, the most stressed piece of information. It doesn't make good sense here. If you were speaking about some particular shoes and the information is that they are there, it is absolutely fine to say "Ty boty jsou tam.". But when informing about kinds of shoes that were there it doesn't make sense. The main information here are the shoes, not the place.


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

Why can't "Tam" be the first word in the sentance?


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

It can. "Tam byly dvě pravé a čtyři levé boty" is one of several correct solutions beginning with "tam" that are accepted. Note that it's not the default word order however.


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

Oh ok thanks. I also had a typeo on leve so i guess that exercise is a bit sensetive to spelling mistakes.


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

Could this sentence start by "Bylo je tam dvě..." instead of "Byly tam dvě..." ?


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

No, firstly it really must be "byly" for boty (feminine gender) and secondly Czech dropped the auxiliary verb in the third person centuries ago (and it wasn't even "je" back then).


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

Well, I was thinking about something on the model of "Bylo jich dvě". Maybe the accordance is mandatory when a noun follows the numelal ?


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

Or is it because the example is with 2 and not 5, for instance?


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

Yes, exactly.

  • Byla tam (jedna) bota.
  • Byly tam dvě, tři nebo čtyři boty.
  • Bylo tam pět, šest, deset bot.

And as a bonus information: Czech also has special numbers that count in whole sets instead of individual units:

  • Byly tam dvoje boty. = There were two pairs of shoes there. (= 4 shoes)
  • Byly tam troje boty. = There were three pairs of shoes there. ...and so on.

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

Thank you! I find Czech numbers even sexier now :)


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

Numbers above four use indeed the verb in singular and the genitive case. "Bylo jich pět." However, that is only true for numbers above four.


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

In other exercises I have been told that putting the verb at the start, it is for questions. But here the suggested correct translation starts with byly. Is it because there are no real alternatives? And would the order for a question be exactly the same here?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AgnusOinas
  • To je... - It/That is...
  • Je to... - same as above, usable as a statement even with the verb first
  • Je... - There is...

And this is true also for the plural (jsou), past (bylo, byli...), future (bude...), etc. Existential sentences (there is...) have no subject in Czech so there is really nothing to place before the verb, it's only the verb "být" on its own.

As for all other verbs (other than "být"), the main thing you need to ask is: Is there an expressed subject in the sentence? If so, do not place the verb first in statements. Place the verb first in questions (unless you want a declarative question where the word order is the same as in statements). But if not - if the subject is not expressed, you can (and often will) place the verb first anyway, even in statements. For example:

  • On chodí do práce. František chodí do práce. Chodí do práce.
  • Chodí on do práce? Chodí František do práce? Chodí do práce?
  • Já sedím doma. Sedím doma. Sedím doma?
  • Prší. Prší?

[deactivated user]

    Some exercises seem to accept the incorrect form of a correct word, but not others. Leve/levou could be acceptable here as both refer to the same thing, even if grammatically incorrect, no?


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

    No, "levou" is singular (accusative feminine). After the number 4, we need the plural form "levé".

    I don't think any exercises accept incorrect forms (unless perhaps as a typo).

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