"Řekli jste to jemu nebo jí?"

Translation:Did you say it to him or to her?

November 20, 2017

This discussion is locked.


It is not clear to me When should I use jemu and when should I use mu?


I am quite sure there's some rule for their usage but as a Czech person, I kinda just judge by my feeling (while knowing that's definitely not the best advice to give on a website as such :) When "jemu" is not the DIRECT, IMPORTANT part of the sentence, you would generally change the word order and just use "mu" (as in example "Řekni mu to" = Tell him). On the other hand, when it's the part you want to put stress on, you use the full form "jemu" (Řekni to jemu = Tell him (but noone else, just him)). For example in the given sentence, it's the interest of the asker to find out whether it was told to "Guy 1" or "Girl 2", so "jemu nebo jí?". If you just generally pointed at a person and wanted to ask if they have been told, you would ask "Řekl jsi mu to?").


It was my understanding that "jemu" is stressed and should be either in the first or the last position in the sentence. Yet that is not the case here with "Rekli jste to jemu nebo ji?" (Sorry, no diacritics on my keyboard.) Why not?


Basically, "jemu" is in the last position here. There are just more options ("jemu" and "jí").


Did you tell him or her is marked wrong. Did report it but i was wondering when řekli means say or when it means tell.

  • 3236

I thing, there is missing what they told - to = it or that


I'm not sure I understand your comment. But in the English translation above, "it" represents the "to" in the Czech sentence, and both represent whatever it was that someone said/told to someone else.

  • 3236

Yes, exactly. In BrianG1941's sugestion is "it" missing. I'm not sure, if it is possible to avoid. Is this sentence the same meaning like original DL?


Aha, now I see what you meant. Yes, because we have an object in the Czech sentence (to), we need "...tell/say it TO him or her" on the English side. Without the to in the Czech sentence, "TELL him or her" is fine, but "SAY him or her" doesn't work. But I don't know if the Czech sentence must contain to, or if it would be a valid (but different) sentence without it.

  • 3236

Yes, you exactly wrote my opinion. But if DL has the same opinion I don't know :-) Without an object you have to say: "Mluvil jsi s ní nebo s ním?" - "Have you spoken with her or him?"


The actual sentence i used was did i tell him or her that, but really it is a question about the use of řekli, when is it say and when is it tell. Sorry my eyesight is deteriorating and I am makings lots of silly errors


As other translations use "you tell," I have added a few more. Ngrams shows very similar usage rates.


i think it is a matter of interpretation as seizeq has explained so both answers can be correct


They can't. The word order dictates "jemu" here. With "mu" it would have to be "Řekl jsi mu to?". The question is what is the unknown new thing in the question. Are you asking whether he told him (you know whom) it or not? => "Řekl jsi mu to?" Are you asking whom did he tell that? => "Řekl jsi to jemu nebo jí?"


Thanks Mr Bass. The graphs certainly reveal my age.


have you told it to him or to her - what's wrong?

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