"But I do not know how to do it with a knife!"

Translation:Já to ale nožem udělat neumím!

December 27, 2017

This discussion is locked.


Can you describe how to use "ale", why it is not first and after to?


It can definitely be first, too, but doesn't have to. There are many possible word orders here: "Ale já to udělat nožem neumím.", "Já to ale nožem udělat neumím.", "Ale neumím to udělat nožem.", "Neumím to ale udělat nožem.", "Ale nožem to udělat neumím.", "Nožem to ale udělat neumím.", "Ale udělat to nožem neumím.", "Udělat to nožem ale neumím." ...and more.


I had the same question and then I read this answer, thank you. It's weird a little that in Czech "ale" doesn't have to take the place before the subject and the predicate.


Yes, it is a little weird. Actually, German does it, too: "Das kann ich aber nicht machen." (But I can't do that.) So it may be part of the Central-European Sprachbund :) I don't know which other Slavic languages can do it, Slovak can, for sure. PavelBotyg in the comment below says that Russian can't.


Agnus, would "delat" work here as well? Udelat=action completed or done once? Delat= action repeated?


Yes, it would. See AO's response to the comment from Annatamoracz. (It's a little lower on the page in my display.)


Why is the perfective "udělat" used here and not "dělat"? To me, this sentence does not seem to be about a completed action.


This is one of the situations where both aspects work. Both "udělat" and "dělat" are accepted here. With "udělat", it's more "I don't know how to complete/finish this work/action using a knife" but the final meaning is nearly the same. We would be more likely to use "dělat" here if it's about general ability, and "udělat" if it's refering to a specific task at hand (I'm unable to do this one task).


Why not "ale nevím jak to udělat z nožem"?


Nevím has more to do with knowledge, whereas neumím has to do with ability/skill.


True, but if you phrase it like Tom, it's more about the knowledge of the way of doing something rather than the ability to do it. And I don't think you can say "neumím jak to udělat", only "nevím jak to udělat".


In this case the instrumental case requires "s", not "z", but it is much better without any preposition (just nožem without s or z).


"Ale nevím jak to udělat nožem" is still not accepted though.


Does "Já ale neumím to udělat nožem" not work?


"To" would like to be in the second position here. ;-)


thanks. Does the "ale" count, so it has to be "Já to ale ...", or is "Ale já to ..." or even "Já ale to ..." possible?


A and B are fine; C sounds really strange.


thanks a lot. I'm still working on developing an intuition for this, but existing rules definitely are helpful for me.


Rules would be great for everyone.


@VladaFu I already found this and consider it to be very helpful.


ale já to udělat nožem neumím by také mohlo být přidáno...


-> My answer should have been accepted...


And what about the same sentence without 'já'?

"ale to udělat nožem neumím"


Actually, thinking about it again. If pronouncing it appropriately, it is possible to have to stressed in the first position here.

After all, "To udělat neumím." is common.

So, "Ale to udělat nožem neumím." is possible.


Thanks for the explanation! Actually in my e-mail I received two other responses that seem to have been deleted, but which contained useful information.

Firstly, 'ale' takes a zero position in the sentence (I forgot about that.

Consequentely, "ale udělat to nožem neumím" should work, but I had tried that too and it wasn't accepted. I didn't report it, since I wasn't sure.


Lots of interesting discussions for this sentence!

I just have a quick general question, not specifically about this sentence. When considering the position of clitics who want/need the second position, if we put 'Ale' in the first position, does that count as the first position or not?


As far as I understand it, "ale" takes a "zero position" in this case and has no influence on the word order in the rest of the sentence.
See the very helpful comment by nueby on that (search for "ale"):


Výborně, děkuji!

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