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  5. "Často jsme od rodičů dostáva…

"Často jsme od rodičů dostávali knihy."

Translation:We would often get books from our parents.

December 4, 2017



How come that this sentence is translated with "would"?


"We often got books from our parents" is also perfectly fine and is an accepted translation.


I think it's because of the aspect difference between “dostat” and “dostávat.” Here “dostávali” means that we kept getting books, or that we got books over and over again. DL expresses that in English by “would.”

I am not sure of the difference to “we often got,” or whether such a sentence is even grammatical in English. (Edit: BoneheadBass says it is – thanks.)


Does "We were often getting books from our parents" not work for any particular reason? Not accepted as of this writing, I'd specifically used that wording to capture dostávat being imperfective.


Why is 'We would often get books from parents.' not accepted?


In a sentence like this, "parents" is usually used with a possessive in English, but Czech allows the possessive to be understood rather than explicit.


So how can you tell if it's implied possessive or not? I interpreted the sentence in the context of 'a school asked parents to donate books'. The headmaster could say 'We would often get books from parents'. That would be exactly the same in Czech, right?


I am by no means an expert in Czech, but... I think there is a Czech convention that the possessive need not be specified with family relationships and body parts, and that personal "ownership" is assumed when a possessive is not used.

So my thought would be that, in the sentence you asked about, an explicit possessive might be required, to indicate that it's the students' parents to whom the headmaster is referring.

But an authoritative answer from one of the CZ natives on the team would be great, in case I'm totally wrong!


Yes, such interpretation is possible.


often would... would often... What is the difference?


In sentences with a "two-part" verb like this one, an adverb of frequency (here, "often") should generally be placed between the auxiliary verb (here, "would") and the main verb (here, "get").


It's an imperfective, so 'were getting' should be accepted. 'would get' is possible, but it needs more sentences for context so that we can see the sequence of tenses. Without that context, I see 'would get' as a wrong translation


To me, as an ESL speaker, were getting does not couple well with often.

Note that there is NO direct correspondence between English simple and progressive tenses and Czech aspect. Mechanically translating one aspect with only progressive or simple (and vice versa) will lead to nonsense sentences or grammatical mistakes.


I wonder if you could elaborate on this statement? Firstly, I don't quite understand what is meant by "aspect" yet. Secondly, it seemed to me from this section so far that the best translation of this sentence to indicate its real meaning would be "... we were often getting...." which is both a valid statement in English and shows clearly the ongoing action, even if not quite so common a way of expressing the activity. However it seems from the discussion that is not the case. Thirdly, what is an ESL speaker? Thanks.

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