"They are old animals."
Translation:Jsou to stará zvířata.
Could someone please explain why the "to" needs to be there? Why is "jsou stara zvirata" (sorry, accents aren't available) wrong?
Hi, if you did not use "to", the sentence would have a different meaning.
Jsou stará zvířata. -> means old animals exist (there are animals in the world that are old)
Jsou to stará zvířata. -> is talking specifically about certain animals and saying that those are old.
The phrase "je to/jsou to" is commonly used in Czech to identify people/things/etc. (There are many sentences that you've already seen here in this course before. - Je to muž., Jsou to ženy., Je to město., Jsou to psi., etc.) Notice that "to" does not change with gender of a noun when using this phrase, only the verb has to match in singular/plural.
Thank you this has helped me a lot to understand when and when not to use 'to'. Until now it's been a 50/50 guess!
then why not "oni jsou stará zvířata"? Wouldn't that be "they are old animals"? That seems perfectly specific to the animals in question.
You're correct, except for "zvířata" being neuter plural and therefore if you use the personal pronoun, it has to be neuter plural as well. "Ona jsou stará zvířata." It's a lot more common to use "To jsou stará zvířata.", but using "ona" is not wrong.
Is there a different implication or would they mean exactly the same thing?
I'm not entirely sure if you're asking about the interchangeable "ona/to" in the above sentence, but if so; they are interchangeable and "to" is what majority of people would use. The sentence flows better with it, but in understanding the sentence, there is no difference.
I am finding it a very slow process to recognise Czech words ! Edit: and at Crown 3 still not on top of this little section. Maybe the 5 Crowns will do it. Note: I've switched from tablet to 2 screens laptop for Czech as having the grammar notes always open on another screen helps. (I haven't seen anyone else mention this all over Duo!)
Get a small book usually 100czk by infola as it will give you better confidence to think first then refer.
Thank you for your tip. I have seen 'infola' mentioned somewhere. But you did not give me the title. I am not in the Czech Republic. I'll be in Paris tomorrow. But I suppose mail order is the way. You'll see I am very (!) experienced with Duo, and occasional exchanges about learning efficiency, or not, can be appropriate in these multiple forums. By the way, I have very much improved my use of the Czech tips pages since that expression of frustration. I don't see infola here : http://www.czech-in-prague.cz/index/czech_textbooks/0-14 http://ujop.cuni.cz/en/outline-of-essential-czech-grammar-for-foreign-students http://www.locallingo.com/czech_language_books.html
Probably referring to "infoa", perhaps this book: https://www.infoa.cz/zbozi/the-course-of-czech-grammar-vyprodej/?poskozene Even with that book, though, IMHO in the case of Czech, DuoLingo is better used as a supplement, rather than the primary learning method.
Hi @eglot, what do you suggest as a primary learning method for Czech?
It does change! neuter singular staré zvíře, plural stará zvířata.