"Jeho hlava nemohla být větší než jablko."

Translation:Its head could not have been bigger than an apple.

October 5, 2017

13 Comments


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

My translation: "His head could not be bigger than an apple."

Translation: Its head could not have been bigger than an apple.

Why can't "jeho" be translated as "his"? What does "jeho" refer to in this sentence? If "nemohla být" means "could not have been", how would you say "could not be"?

October 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kacenka9

We accept both ITS and HIS. It could have been a marionette or some animal we are talking about here, which in English would be IT, while in Czech it could be anything. The Czech sentence suggests that the 'something' is masculine in Czech but it might not be the case in English. But both ITS and HIS are among accepted translations.

Could not be = nemůže být

October 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vor23

Does not "nemůže být" mean "cannot be"? There's a difference, at least in English: "cannot be" is not possible right now, whereas "could not be" cannot be made possible.

April 3, 2018

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

How would I say "could not be"...it appears "nemohl být" only works for "could not have been"?

October 28, 2017

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

The verb tense in this sentence is still unclear to me. How would these be translated: He can't be there. He couldn't be there. He couldn't have been there.

September 23, 2018

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

Nemůže tam být. Nemohl tam být. Nemohl tam být.

September 23, 2018

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

Very interesting! There is a definite difference between "he couldn't be there" and "he couldn't have been there" in English, but apparently not in Czech. "He couldn't be there." because he had some other obligation or was ill, for example, at the time of the event, which prevented him from being there. "He couldn't have been there." As in a court case, the evidence shows that it was impossible for him to have been there because he was somewhere else, such as taking a class or at a party, where there were witnesses to prove where he was, so he is innocent of the crime, for example. I hope this is not too confusing, but for American English speakers, the difference should be clear.

September 23, 2018

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

Well, there is a difference in the meaning and we can feel it easily even in Czech. The past tense and the modal just use the same words in both meanings, but the meanings are different.

September 23, 2018

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

Thank you. It must be the context, then, that helps to differentiate meaning.

September 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MiguelGS12

Then this sentence has to be corrected as it only accepts one of the options (couldn't have been there)

February 9, 2019

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

Well, since "couldn't be" and "couldn't have been" are translated the same into Czech, I think Duo should accept both translations here, and not only the one with "have," shouldn't it?

November 16, 2018

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

What would be the meaning with "couldn't be"? Could you post an example situation?

November 16, 2018

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

Still waiting for the example.

August 12, 2019
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