"Kdyby měl žízeň, pil by i vodu."

Translation:If he was thirsty, he would drink even water.

November 24, 2017

This discussion is locked.


Isn't there should be "If he were thirsty, ..."?


I disagree. "If I were" is correct only if you are stipulating a condition contrary to fact. For example, "If I were king" -- but I'm not.

In the sentence here, however, the "if" is not contrary to fact but is rather the equivalent of "when/whenever"-- When he was thirsty, he would drink even water. In this case, "If I was thirsty" is correct, but not "If I were thirsty".

Nowadays many English speakers ignore the subjunctive and say "Ïf I was" all the time and never "If I were". There is therefore a temptation to "hypercorrect" and change every "If I was" to an "If I were". But there are some times when "If I was", and only "If I was", is in fact correct.


You are right regarding the grammar, but the improbable condition applies here. You can see that from the use of "he would," which describes something other than reality. Thus, "If he were thirsty" is the right expression in this case.


You're wrong because the first conditional (more probable) would be "If I am thirsty, I drink", but that does not correspond to this sentence. "By" translates to "would" and "kdyby" translates to "if he were", which are both second conditional forms (less probable). Therefore, the correct translation is "If he were thirsty, he would drink" (second conditional).


Both are currently accepted.


Exactly — both should be accepted.


In case anyone still cares, here’s what Wikipedia says about this, “The past tense (simple past or past progressive) of the condition clause is historically the past subjunctive. In modern English this is identical to the past indicative, except in the first and third persons singular of the verb be, where the indicative is was and the subjunctive were; was is sometimes used as a colloquialism (were otherwise preferred), although the phrase if I were you is common in colloquial language.”


Interesting. Czech almost lost the past subjuctive and uses just the present one (not past indicative).


The position of even should be possible before and after water. This is common English usage.

Eg. If he was/were thirsty, he would drink even/even drink water


Yes, and both positions are accepted. And "were" is also accepted.

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