"I shouldn't be buying beer."
Translation:Neměla bych kupovat pivo.
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I am native AmE and a fellow learner, so I might be missing something, but I'd say you're on the right track.
Koupit might be incorrect because the English sentence uses "should not be buying," which suggests that the action is either happening now or is something that happens repeatedly. Koupit, as a perfective verb with only past and future tenses, doesn't allow for present or ongoing activity.
Thanks BHB, I thought of that too a few minutes later!
Which leads me to the question: Is this the unreal conjunctive? Or just the past? If I translate the Czech sentence word by word into my mother tongue, I'd assume the first one, but the English translation doesn't teach me well. (I didn't get the bych + mohl/měl/směl that good either. But there's hope for me.) Could you clarify that for me?
In Czech, there is nothing like unreal conjuctive. There isn't any conjunctive mood in Czech at all.
Czech has the conditional mood and it has two flavours, present and past. The past is not shown in this course at all.
I am not sure what exactly is the classifivation in English. English has the conjunctive, more often called subjunctive, mood instead.
"Is this the unreal conjunctive? Or just the past?"
Gotta think of this as having two different axes. Tense: When something happens (present, past, future) Mood: Its relation to reality (conjunctive, subjunctive, indicative)
Nemůžu zpívat. - I cannot sing. (present indicative) Nemohl bych zpívat. - I could not sing. (present subjunctive; maybe this would show up in a statement like "I am so tired, I could not sing." It's not that anyone is asking you to sing, but if they were you couldnt anyway.) Nemohl jsem zpívat. - I could not sing. (past indicative; you were supposed to be singing, or someone was asking you to sing, but you just couldnt do it)