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  5. "Bála by ses?"

"Bála by ses?"

Translation:Would you be afraid?

October 11, 2017



Why does the accusative reflexive pronoun "se" become "ses" here?


I think because "Bála by se" means "Would she be afraid". And here we have Past for "you", or "bála se jsi" -> "bála ses".


The poor quality of the hover hints and absence of lessons before the exercises makes this sentence particularly difficult to decipher for the novice.


In which way it is poor quality? How would you like it to be improved?


7 months later: The hover hints are misleading here: Bala: hover hint: she was afraid! Without the help of some grammar books it is difficult to understand, how the conditional is formed in Czech.


I fear these hints are not the right tool to teach conditionals. But I will have a look.

Remember, the hints willl also contain hints from other sentences where the participle is not a part of a conditional.

  • Bála bych se. - I (fem.) would be afraid. - by+jsem+se -> bych se
  • Bála by ses. - You (fem.) would be afraid. - by+jsi+se -> by ses
  • Bála by se. - She would be afraid. - by+se -> by se (no contraction here)

These contractions ("bych se" and "by ses") are the only way in standard Czech. Some native speakers, however, wrongly believe that they are colloquial/non-standard, and wrongly write these conditionals uncontracted (e.g. "by jsi se" - incorrect).

For comparison, note a non-reflexive verb, such as "hrát" (to play):

  • Hrála bych. - I (fem.) would play.
  • Hrála bys. - You (fem.) would play.
  • Hrála by. - She would play.


So when there is 'se' or 'si' is the s always added to those instead of 'by'?


Yes, if it is reflexive pronoun. Se can also be a preposition that behaves differently.

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